And that includes not only winning the battle but winning the mind-game, said Army Lieutenant Colonel John A. Nagl, one of five participants in a West 2007 panel here Wednesday titled: "Endgame Iraq: What are the Operational Lessons Learned?"
"The most important part of that fight is the psychological part," said Nagl, commanding officer, 1st Battalion, 34th Armor and author of Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam.
And all agreed it would not be a quick fix. Nagl said Americans have to realize we are in it for the long haul "and understand this is going to a long fight."
Much like President Bush's new strategy to use a surge of 21,000 U.S. troops to not only take but also hold troubled areas like Baghdad and the al-Anbar province, the panelists said it is important to hold these areas until the Iraqis themselves are convinced they can and must control them on their own.