From the Washington Post:

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused Bush of effectively signing off on a 10-year "open-ended" commitment [to Iraq]."

I actually agree with the Speaker (in part).

A few weeks ago I suggested that the mission to transform Iraq likely remains a ten-year project.

The calculus must not be how to get us out of Iraq as soon as possible. Rather, the fundamental challenge is how we adjust our strategy to drastically reduce the strain on American soldiers and Marines serving in Iraq, while we simultaneously support vigorously an inchoate nation whose success is inextricably linked to American security.

In arguably, the President made grievous errors from the very beginning, which continue to haunt every aspect of this operation.

The President disastrously underestimated the scale of the task in Iraq, tying the vital interests and future of the United States on an extremely difficult long-term mission. His initial fumbles place high stress on the military, the treasury, and American hegemony. His perceived weakness makes him (us) vulnerable to malefactors domestic and external. We find ourselves in a decidedly precarious national fix.

On the other hand, none of those past mistakes are reversible at this juncture. The issue at hand: what now?

The United States must stay and outlast our enemy. We cannot fail in Iraq. If we do, we will not have a place to hang our hat in the Middle East for a generation. Our perceived weakness will open us up to endless attacks. We cannot abandon our investment at this point. We must hold our ground.

What to do?

1. Re-commit to staying as long as it takes to finish the job.

2. Develop a real strategy that lessens the burden of US troops.

3. Take the necessary measures here at home to replenish and sustain the deteriorated military (more money, a larger force, more down time, less dependence on National Guard and reserves, and more diffused sacrifice).

4. Dig in.

Parting Thoughts:

--Baghdad will not be built in a day.

--The race is not always to the swiftness but, rather, to the runner who perseveres.

--Success is trying one more time than you fail.