The most common cliché about the war in Iraq is now this: We didn't have a plan, and now everything is in chaos; we didn't have a plan, and now we can't win.
This is entirely wrong. We did have a plan - the problem is that the plan didn't work. And of course we can win - we just have to choose to do so.
The problem with our plan is that it wasn't actually a military plan.
We thought a political process inside Iraq would make a military push toward victory against a tripartite foe - Saddamist remnants, foreign terrorists and anti-American Shiites - unnecessary.
Yes, we'd stay in Iraq and fight the bad guys when we had to, which seemed mostly to be when they decided to attack us first. Our resolve was intended to give the Iraqi people the sense that they were being given control of their future, and to give Iraqi politicians the sense that they had a chance to forge a new kind of country in which everybody could prosper.
Podhoretz goes on to say that the plan failed for two reasons:
First, because we chose political rather than military options at crucial junctures, making us look weak.
Second, because the Iraqis haven't stepped up to the plate.
He concludes we need a new plan:
But the Baker-Hamilton advice isn't a new plan. The Democrats don't have a new plan. The only plan that will work is a plan to face the tripartite enemy - the Saddamists, the foreign terrorists and the Shiite sectarians - and bring them to heel.
Kill as many bad guys as we can, with as many troops as we can muster.
Which by the way jibes with what just about everything I've been told by the many, many deployed troops I meet on a regular basis.
It's worth your time to read the whole thing.