The fact that the Iraq war has been pushed off the front pages of America’s newspapers has given the US military a seeming respite from the almost endless spate of disastrous stories coming out of the Middle East, as well as the almost endless round of embarrassing questions from the press about what they intend to do about it.
But military officers say that the American public should not be fooled: the relative quiet in Iraq – and it is, after all, only a “relative quiet” – does not mean the “surge” has worked, or that the problems facing the US military have somehow magically gone away. Quite the opposite. For while the American public is consumed by the campaign for the presidency, the American military is not. Instead, they are as obsessed now, in January of 2008, with the war in Iraq as they were then, in 2003 – except that now, many military officers admit, the host of problems they face may, in fact, be much more intractable.
“Don’t let the quiet fool you,” a senior defense official says. “There’s still a huge chasm between how the White House views Iraq and how we [in the Pentagon] view Iraq. The White House would like to have you believe the ‘surge’ has worked, that we somehow defeated the insurgency. That’s just ludicrous. There’s increasing quiet in Iraq, but that’s happened because of our shift in strategy – the ‘surge’ had nothing to do with it.” [complete article]