MRC reports that Brit Hume, sitting in for Tony Snow, asked Wolfowitz on the July 27 Fox News Sunday:

“You paint a much more optimistic picture of the state of play in Iraq than anyone reading the front pages of the newspapers and watching news broadcasts in this country would get. Partially, I suspect, that’s because of the trickle of reports of American casualties, but also other reports of resistance, as well. What is the news media, what are the news media in this country missing?

Wolfowitz replied:

I think the success stories. It’s a country that’s not easy to get around in, admittedly, and it’s not easy to understand. There’s a language problem, to begin with. And I don’t want to paint a rosy picture; there are real problems. The security problem is real, and the security problem is making it difficult to solve other problems like getting the power and electricity restored.

“But when we visited Najaf, for example, where a relatively small Marine unit is preserving a quite stable situation, not perfect situation, but quite stable, in a city of half a million Shia, who some people predicted would be a huge problem, you had a cameraman there, and I asked if he’d been here before, and he said no, he hadn’t, he’d been up north where the fighting’s going on, but he hadn’t been in the south. And the Marines told me, yes, there was a CNN cameraman who’s come here once in the last month, and that was when a Marine was killed.

“It’s a hard story to cover, but frankly, I think, maybe success […] people think isn’t as good news.

“But the south of the country is largely stable. This is the Shia heartland, which some people predicated would be big trouble. The north of the country is largely stable. This is the country where you have a potentially volatile ethnic mixture of Kurds and Turks and Arabs, and some people predicted that would be trouble. Where we’re having trouble — and we’re making progress even there — is in this Baathist, Saddamist heartland, including his hometown of Tikrit, where the killers of the old regime are putting out $100 for someone to attack a power line and $500 for someone to attack an American. And that’s where the trouble is coming from.”

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