"How much longer do we have to get shot at or blown up?"

In Ramadi, U.S. troops want a change.

By Tim Grieve
Published December 6, 2006 2:17PM (EST)

Robert Gates checked himself Tuesday to make it clear that, when he said that the United States wasn't winning in Iraq, he didn't mean to suggest that there were any losers in the U.S. military.

The clarification probably wasn't necessary.

U.S. troops serving in Ramadi, Iraq, seem pretty happy with the prospect of having someone in charge at the Pentagon who seems to understand, albeit vaguely, that the current U.S. approach isn't working. Told that Gates had said Tuesday that "all options are on the table," Staff Sgt. Rony Theodore told the Associated Press: "Yes, please! All of us want to change what we're doing because we're not doing very much."

Theodore and other soldiers in the company just learned that their tour of duty in Iraq will be extended through February. They're not happy about it, nor are some of them happy with what they see as the "stay the course" approach the administration has advocated so far.

"We've been here for 12 months now and there's been no progress," Spc. Richard Johnson, 20, told the AP. "It's like holding a child's hand: How long can you hold onto his hand before he does something on his own? How much longer do we have to get shot at or blown up?"

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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Iraq War Robert Gates War Room