Tom Donnelly writes:
One can only hope that the success of the surge over the last year has, in addition to improving the security situation in Iraq, pried open that little bit of the American brain that can accommodate facts a little wider. The facts are somewhat more convenient: the war is winnable, but it's not yet won. If it is won it would be a genuine demonstration of American virtue, but of the sort that reflects the often-ugly business of irregular war. The facts of losing--and the war is losable as it is winnable--remain extremely inconvenient and would almost surely increase the number of crimes against humanity.
Ultimately, fictions about war are only briefly self-serving: until we can see this war clearly, we cannot really know how to fight it. "The first, the supreme, the most far-reaching act of judgment that the statesman and commander have to make"--yes, there is a Clausewitz quote for any occasion--"is to establish . . . the kind of war on which they are embarking; neither mistaking it for, nor trying to turn it into, something that is alien to its nature."