Insurgents ramping up violence: As the Defense Department's tally of fallen GIs grows shockingly long, new reports indicate that five more US soldiers were killed in two separate attacks in Baghdad, just a day after a military helicopter was shot down, killing one. David Hackworth, of Soldiers for the Truth, asks, "So at the end of this turbulent year, we must ask ourselves: Was the price our warriors paid in blood worth the outcome? Are we any safer than before our pre-emptive invasion?"

Dean on defense: "We've lost 10 more troops and F-16s are escorting foreign passenger jets into our air space because we're now more worried than we were before," Howard Dean said today, citing the heightened terror alert following Saddam Hussein's capture. "I can assure you it's not Saddam who's threatening to bomb airplanes. It's al-Qaida. We've not paid attention to al-Qaida. We've spent $160 billion, lost over 400 servicemen, and wounded and permanently maimed over 2,000 people because we picked the wrong target."

Also: a new Time/CNN poll shows Dean pulling within 5 points of Bush if the election were held today.

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