The terrorists have changed tactics, and so has the United States, and that says much about where the battle for Iraq is going. There are fewer bombs going off in Baghdad, so the bombers are trying to make each one count more. Thus, in the last week, three truck bombs took out bridges and overpasses, seeking to make life miserable for an many Iraqis as possible. This is because, despite all the dismal news from Iraq, what doesn't get reported is that most of the country is quiet, and there has been 4-5 percent growth in the overall economy for the past four years. Actually, there was a huge jump in economic growth, about 40 percent, in the year after Saddam fell. That has now settled down. Anyone who has been to Iraq, particularly American soldiers, can't help but notice the traffic jams, shops full of goods, and all those Iraqis walking around with their new cell phones. Yes, it's a war zone, but it's also a growing economy.Source
And then there's this:
Our soldiers are fighting brilliantly, and history will record they are defeating the enemy while suffering historically low casualties. But if the sacrifice of American youth is not tied — daily, hourly — to larger strategic and humanitarian goals by eloquent statesmen who believe in the mission, then cynicism follows and, with it, despair.Source
The establishment of consensual government in Iraq, with the concomitant defeat of jihadists, will have positive ripples that will undermine Islamism and help to cleanse the miasma in which al Qaeda thrives. But again, unless explained, most Americans will not see a connection between the ideology of the head-drillers and head-loppers we are fighting in Iraq and those who try to do even worse at Fort Dix and the Kennedy airport. The war to remove Saddam was won and is over; the subsequent and very different war in Iraq that followed is for nothing less than the future of the Middle East — and now involves everything from global terrorism and nuclear proliferation to the world’s oil supply and the future of Islam in the modern world.
Then there is the viewpoint of the jarhead (US Marine) on the ground:
After my fifth trip to Iraq to report on Marines, I've concluded that, at least among Marines, morale remains high — high not despite the public's disaffection with the war but possibly because of it. The declining poll numbers and rising political upheaval appear to have driven Marines closer together.Source
Marines, for instance, continue to exceed their reenlistment goals; a recent study showed that those who have deployed twice to Iraq are more likely to reenlist again than those who have only gone once — and that the Marine least likely to reenlist is one who has not deployed to Iraq.
....As Cpl. Alexander Lengle, 21, of Lancashire, Pa., said of the debate that dominates much of the news: "That's political. It's not our part of the spectrum. We've got a job to do."
At chow halls at the larger bases, there are usually televisions at opposite ends, one set to sports, one to news. The TV showing sports gets the larger audience, particularly among the young enlisted troops. "It's like noise in the background," Lance Cpl. Jacob Holmes, 21, of Tallahassee, Fla., said of the news channels.
When the 2nd Battalion, 5th Regiment needed volunteers to extend their enlistments so they could return to Iraq and mentor younger Marines making their first deployment, the talk was not of foreign policy but of loyalty to each other. Two hundred Marines — 25% of the battalion — volunteered to return to war-torn Ramadi.
"It's not for everybody, but it's definitely for me," said Sgt. Kemp Miller, 25, of Philadelphia, making his third deployment.
While the moronic Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid insist that the US may as well cut and run from Iraq, since the war is lost, the marines who are actually there have a different opinion.
Of course the Bush administration is swimming upstream in an attempt to change the arab mindset in Iraq. The Kurds seem ready to sign on to modernism and democracy, but the arabs are considerably more primitive in outlook. It takes more than a few years to enlighten a stone-age people.
There simply may not be enough time on the US political clock for the transition to occur. Certainly Iran's bloody theocracy is staking its future on preventing Iraq from succeeding.