From an Op-Ed in the LA Times:
UNDER A sweltering Iraqi sky, the general [Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis] asked for questions from his troops. Many were reluctant, but one stepped forward.The Op-Ed also notes that re-enlistment rates are highest among Marines who have served tours in Iraq.
Marine Lance Cpl. Jack Kessel, 19, of Raleigh, N.C., asked about something that had been gnawing at him as he and his buddies go about the dangerous business of winning hearts and minds in Al Anbar province.
"How are we supposed to fight a war when people back home say we've already lost?" he asked...
...Mattis told the Marines to believe their own eyes rather than news accounts on the issue of who is winning the war. Don't be discouraged by the politicians and pundits who haven't been to Iraq and don't understand, he said.
"Don't hold it against them," he said to Kessel and the others gathered at a base in Habbaniya. "The only reason they have that freedom of speech is because you'll fight for it."
Kessel nodded. "I understand now," he said later.