Old soldiers of the Vietnam war era have often heard to bristle that they never lost a battle, but their rejoinders are always beside the point. The point being that the U.S. lost that war. One can hear echoes of those rejoinders coming from Iraq, where despite the impressive power of the U.S. military the U.S. is so very obviously losing the war politically.
Situation Called Dire in West Iraq: "One Army officer summarized it as arguing that in Anbar province, 'We haven't been defeated militarily but we have been defeated politically -- and that's where wars are won and lost.'
The 'very pessimistic' statement, as one Marine officer called it, was dated Aug. 16 and sent to Washington shortly after that, and has been discussed across the Pentagon and elsewhere in national security circles. 'I don't know if it is a shock wave, but it's made people uncomfortable,' said a Defense Department official who has read the report. Like others interviewed about the report, he spoke on the condition that he not be identified by name because of the document's sensitivity."