No one ever won a war by fighting for "not defeat." You win a war by smashing up the enemy, by so overwhelming him but that he has no choice but to surrender or die. Instead we have "stayed the course" (where is the urgency in that?) and we have whined that losing would be a bad thing.
We should never have pledged to uphold a unified Iraq. We should instead have created an independent Kurdistan, an independent Shiite Mesopotamia, and an independent (and largely Sunni) rump state of Iraq. And while Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and General Tommy Franks were absolutely right to invade Iraq with a light force — for speed and surprise — we should have reinforced our initial victory with a doubling of our troop strength to stem the inevitable initial chaos. If we had done these things, if we had simply abided by two of the cardinal lessons of military history, "divide and conquer" and "reinforce success," our job would be done, most of our troops would be home, and President Bush would not have received his electoral thumping.
We should let our yes be "yes" and our no be "NO", and stop equivocating. In or out.