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SUNDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2006
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EDITORIAL

About that pink elephant sitting in the middle of Iraq

The British have a unique way of putting things in perspective that their American kinfolk sometimes lack. It's often because they are willing to state the obvious and we are not.

The new commander of the British army said last week that Iraqis don't want foreign troops in their country.

But where would a military leader come up with such a foolish notion? Certainly it didn't come from embattled Tony Blair who is a lame duck prime minister. And President Bush continues to say that the mostly American and British force is helping Iraq defeat terrorists and insurgents.

Perhaps the general sees the escalating violence against our soldiers as a sign we are not welcomed.

"Whatever consent we may have had in the first place has largely turned to intolerance," Gen. Richard Dannatt said in an interview. He said the presence of British troops in Iraq now makes the violence there worse.

U.S. critics of the war have a list of reasons that all make sense as to why the president should get troops out of Iraq. But the general boils the problem down to its essence:

"We are in a Muslim country and Muslims' views on foreigners in their country are quite clear. As a foreigner, you can be welcomed by being invited in a country, but we weren't invited."

Even if we were invited, the adage that guests are like fish if they stay too long applies in Iraq.

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