When Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker left Washington last week, they took the war with them, at least as far as the news media are concerned. Things have been happening in Iraq, all of them bad, but you have to look hard to see past the Clinton-Obama-McCain war of words to find out about them.
Violence is spiking again, with Sunni insurgents joining the Shiites in causing carnage. Car bombs killed at least 60 people yesterday, the most deadly of them at a restaurant in "safe" Anbar province. In Baghdad, another targeted a convoy carrying the director of police affairs.
In Sadr City, a company of Iraqi soldiers abandoned their positions, despite pleas from American forces to hold the line against Shiite militias. This happened a day after the Iraqi government announced it had fired 1,300 soldiers and policemen for refusing to fight during the Maliki-ordered offensive last month in Basra.
Meanwhile, as the candidates back here bicker about Barack Obama's perceived insult to small towns, there is some discussion about what the $1 to $3 trillion war is costing American life, but most of that is going on behind the scenes.
Meanwhile, the icasualties web site, after what is described as "a malicious attack" on its server, reports that 25 American troops have died in Iraq so far this month, a number that is slowly rising toward pre-Surge levels.
But none of that is making much news. The Petraeus-Crocker show satisfied our curiosity about Iraq so we can concentrate on the Presidential campaign and the Pope's visit.