A useful reality check from the NYT:

Is it normal yet? The three young men did not respond. When will it be normal? “I don’t know how long it will take,” said Muath Abbas, 21, a university student who is studying English, although he is not sure where he will use the language. “It will take time.”

This year? Next year? Abu Mohamed, a 21-year-old taxi driver, shook his head. “It is in the hands of God,” he said.

Ten minutes after the conversation, a bomb exploded less than 100 feet away. It destroyed the building and checkpoint of a Sunni citizen group paid by the Americans to watch the neighborhood. In an illustration of the convoluted world of Iraq, the police said that the citizen group was not the target. Rather, the group itself set the bomb to destroy its building rather than give it back to returning Shiites who had renewed their claim to it, the police said.

If "normal" is our definition of "victory", we will be there for ever.

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