Playing the Course: A Strategy for Reshaping US Policy in Iraq and the Middle East

The odds of lasting US success in Iraq are now at best even, and may well be worse. The US can almost certainly win every military battle and clash, but it is far less certain to win the political and economic war. US success is also heavily dependent on two variables that the US can influence, but not control. The first is the emergence of a government that Iraqis see as legitimate and which can effectively govern. The second is the ability to create Iraqi military and security forces that can largely replace US and other Coalition forces no later than 2006.