this was a damn good article in the December 2005 issued of The Atlantic Review magazine. the writer interviewed many of the military men fighting the war and seemed to say that with perfect 20/20 hind site we have done just about every thing we could have possiblely done wrong in iraq. and that IF it's possible to win the war. and thats a big IF - then it will take many years of the US military staying in Iraq and it will cost tons of money.
althought the writer seems to be a bit pro-war from the perspective of an anti-war person like myself the article seemed to say that Iraq is doomed like Vietnam was and the only question will be is how long do we waste our time staying there before we leave and cut our losses. something one military man told the author by saying "we can either lose the war now if we leave, or lose the war and destroy the army if we stay in iraq" - its not an exact quote but its close enough.
here is the first page of the online article - i would include the whole article but you can only get it if you subscribe to the magazine which i dont.
The Atlantic Monthly | December 2005
Why Iraq Has No Army
An orderly exit from Iraq depends on the development of a viable Iraqi security force, but the Iraqis aren't even close. The Bush administration doesn't take the problem seriouslyand it never has by James Fallows
hen Saddam Hussein fell, the Iraqi people gained freedom. What they didn't get was public order. Looting began immediately, and by the time it abated, signs of an insurgency had appeared. Four months after the invasion the first bomb that killed more than one person went off; two years later, through this past summer, multiple-fatality bombings occurred on average once a day. The targets were not just U.S. troops but Iraqi civilians and, more important, Iraqis who would bring order to the country. The first major attack on Iraq's own policemen occurred in October of 2003, when a car bomb killed ten people at a Baghdad police station. This summer an average of ten Iraqi policemen or soldiers were killed each day. It is true, as U.S. officials often point out, that the violence is confined mainly to four of Iraq's eighteen provinces. But these four provinces contain the nation's capital and just under half its people.
The crucial need to improve security and order in Iraq puts the United States in an impossible position. It can't honorably leave Iraqas opposed to simply evacuating Saigon-styleso long as its military must provide most of the manpower, weaponry, intelligence systems, and strategies being used against the insurgency. But it can't sensibly stay when the very presence of its troops is a worsening irritant to the Iraqi public and a rallying point for nationalist opponentsto say nothing of the growing pressure in the United States for withdrawal.