I'm probably late to this...
It seemed like a routine question, one that military leaders involved in prosecuting the war in Iraq must ask themselves with some regularity: Is the U.S. winning?
But for Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff known for his straight-shooting bluntness, it proved a hard one to answer.
During a Capitol Hill briefing for an audience mostly of congressional aides, Schoomaker paused for more than 10 seconds after he was asked the question — lips pursed and brow furrowed — before venturing:
"I think I would answer that by telling you I don't think we're losing."
It was a small but telling window into the thinking of the Army's top uniformed officer and one of the military's most important commanders: Despite the progress being made by the new Iraqi government and the continuing improvement of local security forces, the outcome in Iraq, in many ways, is growing more uncertain by the day.
"The challenge … is becoming more complex, and it's going to continue to be," Schoomaker mused. "That's why I'll tell you I think we're closer to the beginning than we are to the end of all this."
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