The five car-bombs that killed 127 persons and wounded hundreds more in Baghdad this week made two aspects of the continuing mission in Iraq very clear:
• The country is not yet stable. Iraqi security forces have taken on all responsibility for security in their own nation, but they're not yet quite ready to handle this job.
• U.S. troops, of whom 120,000 are still on the ground in a training, advisory and backup role, are still needed. But, thankfully, they do not appear to be under nearly as much threat as in recent years.
Since U.S. troops pulled back in June, 17 Americans have been killed by hostile action. While each of those lost lives is a tragedy, together they represent a low point for U.S. deaths inside Iraq. In October and November, despite several large-scale attacks against Iraqi citizens, a total of four U.S. service personnel died from enemy fire. Thus far in December, no Americans have been killed in Iraq.
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