January 1, 2006:
The majority of U.S. troops serving in Iraq (and about two thirds of the officers and NCOs) believe the American effort is succeeding. This comes through not just in surveys, but also in the email the troops send back home, and the high reenlistment rates of troops in Iraq (higher than that for troops not in Iraq.) The troops are perplexed when they come back home, or view the home based news while in Iraq (not much TV from home, but lots of Internet access.) Occasionally, the media back home will cover this disconnect, but will generally end up dismissing the outlook of the troops for one reason or another. The most popular reason is that the troops "can't see the big picture." The history books will settle this dispute, and the smart money is on the troops.