Last month, seven U.S. soldiers in Iraq penned an op-ed for the New York Times entitled "The War As We Saw It". The article itself is behind the NYT’s subscription wall, but you can read it (free) here.
Here’s part of what they said:
To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day. (Obviously, these are our personal views and should not be seen as official within our chain of command.)
The claim that we are increasingly in control of the battlefields in Iraq is an assessment arrived at through a flawed, American-centered framework. Yes, we are militarily superior, but our successes are offset by failures elsewhere. What soldiers call the "battle space" remains the same, with changes only at the margins. It is crowded with actors who do not fit neatly into boxes: Sunni extremists, Al Qaeda terrorists, Shiite militiamen, criminals and armed tribes. This situation is made more complex by the questionable loyalties and Janus-faced role of the Iraqi police and Iraqi Army, which have been trained and armed at United States taxpayers’ expense.
Since writing that piece, some of those seven soldiers were rotated back to Iraq.
On Monday, two of these soldiers — Sgt. Omar Mora and Sgt. Yance Gray — died in a vehicle accident in Western Baghdad. The news of their deaths came just before Gen. David Petraeus began testifying to Congress about the Bush administration’s progress in Iraq.