In at least one respect, President George W. Bush is a fortunate man. He is surrounded by military experts, not only the real ones in uniform, but the amateurs in Congress and the press, not to mention the legions of retired generals working for think tanks and defense contractors. Trouble is, the daily advice, both solicited and unsolicited, he receives on how to prosecute our military efforts in Iraq ranges from get out now to stay forever if that is what it takes to achieve victory or success.
But what exactly do the terms victory and success mean and how will we know when we have achieved them? When will we know that the troops have accomplished their mission, at least to the degree that we can declare victory and start drawing down? Some say never. However, our Iraq campaign, now lengthier than our involvement in World War II, clearly cannot go on indefinitely given the declining support for it among Americans in spite of the reduction in violence achieved by the surge.