15 DIE IN IRAQ….15 soldiers were killed today when a shoulder mounted missile brought down a Chinook Helicopter about 40 miles outside Baghdad. I don’t really disagree with Donald Rumsfeld’s sentiments (“In a long, hard war, we’re going to have tragic days, as this is”), but this is the scary part:

At the scene, villagers proudly showed off blackened pieces of wreckage to arriving reporters.

Others celebrated word of the helicopter downing, as well as a fresh attack on U.S. soldiers in Fallujah itself, where witnesses said an explosion struck one vehicle in a U.S. Army convoy at about 9 a.m. Sunday. They claimed four soldiers died, but U.S. military sources said they couldn’t confirm the report.

“This was a new lesson from the resistance, a lesson to the greedy aggressors,” one Fallujah resident, who wouldn’t give his name, said of the helicopter downing. “They’ll never be safe until they get out of our country,” he said of the Americans.

I wish we had a better clue about just how widespread this kind of sentiment is. Unfortunately, given the Pollyanna PR campaign underway by the administration, it’s impossible to take anything they say at face value. So in the end, even though we’re told that American reporters are practically rooting for failure, it looks like their reports are all we have.

And so far they’ve been pretty accurate. Certainly more so than visiting congressmen and dance troupes returning from their carefully scripted tourist trips, that’s for sure.