So maybe "more troops" to shore up the Iraqi government doesn't give us a bona fide win in the so-called war on terror -- which is, of course, what this intervention in Iraq was supposed to achieve in the first place. That's not a failure of our great military; it's a failure of our best intentions. The next question is, what can we salvage from battle for the United States?
The only way we can even try to answer this question is to take a longer, wider view that takes in more than just the map of Iraq, which remains, after all, the arbitrary creation of Anglo-French diplomats carving up conquered landmasses after World War I. We need to refocus this 21st century war effort of ours around the specific needs of the United States as it fights against what we persist in calling "terror," but which really comes down to the expansion of Islam and Islamic power -- via terrorism, both gangland (Al Qaeda) and state (Iran), oil, massive demographic movement, and the resulting introduction of sharia (Islamic law) -- into the West. If we were to acknowledge this over-arching mission and recognize its urgency, "stabilizing" Iraq -- which now means spending American blood and treasure to try to quell millennia-old Sunni-Shiite barbarism -- might not figure prominently in the fight.
Stopping Iran and its allies in mass murder from becoming a genocidal nuclear outlaw and world-class menace; stopping the liberty-sapping spread of sharia into the heretofore non-Muslim world; stopping U.S. aid to countries that foment jihad against us; stopping our addict-like dependence on Islamic oil: These are the urgent missions of our day. They are grand objectives on whose success the future of the West turns. I'm increasingly dubious we can make the same case for "success" in Iraq.