Tony Cordesman is a brilliant analyst, so I don’t take issue with him lightly, but I think he ought to have re-read this sentence a few times before framing his op-ed the way he did:
Meaningful victory can come only if tactical military victories end in ideological and political victories and in successful governance and development.
That’s, like, hard to do, man. And more to the point, if you start out with a grain of sand, then add another, then another, then another, etc. eventually you have yourself a heap of sand. The relationship between “tactical military victories” and “ideological and political victories [and] successful governance and development” isn’t like that. We’re not a dozen tactical military victories away from bringing successful governance to Iraq. I’d say we have no idea how to bring successful governance to Iraq. This isn’t what our troops are trained and equipped to do, and it seems cruel to toss them into the theater for an indefinite period of time based on the vague hope that a formula for achieving this other stuff will emerge.