Many in our country routinely characterize what is taking place in the Middle East as the "War in Iraq." I would ask you to think of it in different terms. I believe we are seeing the first real battles against the field forces of terrorism, both in Afghanistan and Iraq, in what will be a Long War or generational struggle. Instead of the "War in Iraq," it is more correctly termed the "Battle in Iraq" and the "Battle in Afghanistan." Words and phrases are important in terms of how we understand critical decisions this nation will face and how we frame our thinking as we deal with them.
Our nation's forces have been in Iraq more than four years now. No doubt mistakes have been made and opportunities lost, but progress continues at an incremental pace slower progress than our countrymen might like generally in line with historical norms, the nine to eleven years that we see when we study successful counterinsurgencies.