Fifth, we intensify and accelerate the training of Iraqi forces so that sooner, rather than later, they can stand up to the bad guys on their own.
Sixth, we act as an honest broker between Iraq’s Sunni and Shia communities. Who else can play that role? It may be that these populations need fences to be good neighbors -- a process of separation is already underway. We can make that process less painful and perilous. We ought to consider what Brookings scholar Michael O’Hanlon calls the Bosnian model: Each of Iraq’s ethno-religious groups would establish autonomy within a unitary Iraqi state. Oil wealth would be shared by all cooperating and stabilized areas of the country.
Iraqis are not hopeless. But insurgents, terrorists and death squads have effectively used violence to persuade many to relinquish dreams of freedom in exchange for security. Made-for-TV violence has caused Americans to despair as well.
George Orwell wrote: "The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it, and if one finds the prospect of a long war intolerable, it is natural to disbelieve in the possibility of victory."
That is precisely how much of the political class sees the conflict in Iraq. But most Americans disagree. Gallup polls have consistently found no less than 60 percent of us believe the U.S. has not been defeated and can still win. Next month, President Bush will have what is probably his last chance to tell Americans they are right; to tell us we can move forward in the Battle of Iraq and the broader war against freedom’s 21st century enemies; to tell us that he has a new and much improved strategy that deserves our renewed support.