It's as if Iraq is fading quickly from national memory. Yes, "The Hurt Locker," the documentary about Iraq bomb detonators, gets rave reviews and the plight of Iraq War veterans remains an important issue. But as an issue of national attention Iraq has fallen off the radar in a way one couldn't have imagined in 2006, when it dominated the mid-term election and helped set the stage for the Obama victory in the following election cycle. Now Iraq feels increasingly irrelevant in electoral life. Obama wasn't asked about it at his last two press conferences.
Wars have tended to upend American life in ways large and small. World War I popularized the cigarette and the wristwatch--and sped the migration of African Americans north and expanded America's role in the world. Vietnam cracked the social order. But it's hard to see what social impact the Iraq war will have had on America now that it's not even much of a topic of conversation.
Let me say, I realize that for the families of those in Iraq and those involved in prosecuting the war, Iraq remains the central focus of their lives. I just mean as a country, Iraq has largely faded from view as Secretary Gates's comments remind us this morning.
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