The bipartisan Iraq study group issued its report today and the Senate approved a new secretary of defense. Do the events signal a shift in our approach to the Iraq war? And what that could mean to soldiers and their families.
"We never seen him stand up so tall," Theresa Jenkins says of her son, Charles.
Charles has been in Iraq, serving in the Air Force, since September. Back home in Belvidere, his family waits for him.
"I'd like to see him come home tomorrow but if the job's not done, it's not done and they can't come home," says his father Billy Joe.
Now more than ever, the question is when will the job be done?
The Iraq study group's report calls the situation in Iraq dire. It suggests shifting the mission to training Iraqi soldiers, working more closely with Iraq's neighbors and gradually bringing troops home.
But some say the report and senate confirmation of new Secretary of Defense Robert Gates are mostly symbolic.
P.S. Ruckman, Associate Professor of Political Science at Rock Valley College says, "They simply say that Rumsfeld is no longer there and that we have new people making decisions, but as of yet, they haven't outlined anything new or distinctly different."
Ruckman says there are too many holes in the report to call it a real solution.
He says, "Everything's covered with a qualification. That unless unforseen circumstances call for a different option."
For soldiers' families, those policy gaps are frightening.
"In order to move forward, you gotta make sure that that everything is in place and everyone is as safe as they can be. So if they don't have a plan then yeah it scares ya," says Theresa Jenkins.
Whenever the Jenkins talk to Charles, he tells them to sleep in peace, while in Iraq he waits and works for peace.
President Bush says he will consider all of the points in the report very carefully, but the final decisions are up to him.
Robert Gates will be sworn in as defense secretary December 18th.