We are losing Iraq
I hate to sound grim but the recently "essential" part of the war on terror, Iraq, is being lost by the US. We lack the forces, the understanding and the strategy to win.
Regarding forces, see this analysis to understand why. It isn't a matter of manpower, its a matter of equipping the troops. At the current rate, we are maintaining the forces currently there at the expense of forces and stockpiles elsewhere. Were something to erupt elsewhere in the world, we'd have a lot of trouble responding effectively. Hey Rumsfeld, thanks a lot, now kick yourself out and let someone else clean up the pile of shit you left.
The understanding is, well, tough to understand. Our cultural differences and lack of bother to study mid-east culture leaves us unable to comprehend why the iraqis can in one breath say "thanks for getting rid of Saddam" and "get the fuck out" in the next. The arabic sense of honor is a peculiar thing, they need to do it themselves in order to feel worthy of it. In a way, the only steps we can take to secure the nation are the very things that will increase the bloodshed. If we leave, there will be chaos, but at least we won't be in the middle. Maybe the predictions that once we're out of there, the Iraqis will turn on the foreign insurgents will be true but more likely, the factions will use them as mercenaries.
Strategy, or lack of it, is an issue that has been a talking point during campaigns since the 2004 election. Apparently, Democrats didn't have one and it contributed to the Republican victories. What no one bothered to ask was, what was the Repub strategy? Stay the course comes close but isn't a plan, it's a mantra. Truth is, no one knows what we should do about Iraq. Until someone figures it out, we'll be stuck in that sandpit losing men and equipment for no imaginable cause.