How To Read The Iraq Situation

Gen. David Petraeus waits to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Sept. 10, 2007, before the House Armed Services Committee hearing on the future course of the war in Iraq. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
AP Photo/Susan Walsh
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.

The surge will face several days of serious scrutiny, with Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker testifying on Capitol Hill. They will say it's working, that it's too early for troop withdrawals, and that Iraq will collapse if the U.S. pulls out. There will be some tough questions over the next couple of days, maybe even some verbal sparring.

All the while the reality of Iraq will be just out of reach. A brand new poll of Iraqis says most of them don't think the surge is working. They think life in their country is still dangerous.

And guess what? They're right. Violence levels have only retreated from last year's stratospheric levels, to 2005's merely catastrophic levels. The electricity still doesn't work most of the day, and the oil that was supposed to pay for this war is still only trickling out of the ground.

Here's how I'll know when things are better: When the millions of displaced Iraqis decide they want to go home.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.