Mar 21, 2006 — Yesterday, President Bush said Americans need to look beyond violence in Iraq for signs of progress. The president told an audience in Cleveland he understands why some Americans are disheartened by daily images of "savage" violence from Iraq. On Capitol Hill, Senator Joe Biden said Iraq is in what he calls a low-grade civil war, and may be on the brink of a full-blown civil war when militias fully engage in the violence.
However you frame it, civilians are dying every day as the war enters its fourth year. Freelance journalist Bill Putnam has been embedded with 10th Mt. Divison soldiers in Iraq this year as they've patrolled in and around Baghdad. Thousands of Iraqis come to the main American base - camp Liberty outside Baghdad International Airport to work every day. Most of their jobs are in construction or contracting. A few own stores at the local bazaar on camp. Putnam says local people are like ghosts to many American soldiers - seen but rarely heard. It's hard to have a conversation, but not impossible.