Gen. James Conway has been on the job as commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps for all of eight days now. We'll see if he lasts eight more.
In a chat with Pentagon reporters this morning, Conway spoke with the sort of candor that doesn't always sit well with the Bush White House. He said that training Iraqi security forces is "a long, slow process," and that the "timeline it would take to build a fully capable, competent force -- and for us to feel comfortable in stepping away -- is longer than the timeline that we feel now our country will support."
Conway may have redeemed himself by returning to some of the administration's other talking points on the war. He said that Americans have to be patient, that they have to understand that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are battles in the global war on terrorism, and that we're fighting the terrorists over there so that they don't attack over here. "Somehow I dont think our people have made that connection and feel the same way that I do, and our troops do --that because there has not been an attack in this country is directly related to the fact that they are killing these fanatics who would otherwise be trying to work their way in to Baltimore harbor or Los Angeles airport."
Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.