Yes, but when do we "turn the corner"?

A White House spokesman says anti-American protests in Iraq are just another sign of progress.

Published April 10, 2007 1:56PM (EDT)

Monday was the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad -- at least to the extent that Baghdad isn't still falling -- and tens of thousands of Iraqi Shiites marked the occasion by staging a protest march in which they demanded an end to the U.S. occupation. As the Associated Press reports, some of the Iraqis "ripped apart American flags and tromped across a Stars and Stripes rug."

The president didn't mention the anniversary Monday, but White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe did. He said the protest was just one more sign of progress. "Iraq, four years on, is now a place where people can freely gather and express their opinions, and that was something they could not do under Saddam," Johndroe explained.

There's one other thing Iraqis couldn't -- or at least didn't --- do under Saddam: Kill American soldiers. Three U.S. troops were killed in an IED attack near Baghdad Monday, and another soldier died as a result of hostile fire in Al Anbar province. The price of all the "progress" so far: 3,292 American lives.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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