In the end, the U.S. military will withdraw from Iraq. The only debate is whether that withdrawal will be sooner or later, massive or staged, with or without the chaos of the evacuation of Saigon more than 30 years ago. The terrorism, murders and torture now going on in Iraq between different militias and religious factions are barometers of the progress of de facto partitioning along ethnic and religious lines that is currently under way.
The best indication of the inevitability of withdrawal is the request by U.S. generals for 20,000 more troops. Twenty thousand more "boots on the ground" will not win this war. They will only provide the additional force for an orderly withdrawal (in military terms, a retrograde maneuver).
Losing Iraq may increase the terrorist threat to the United States. It will certainly take decades for U.S. prestige and the health of our armed forces to recover from the war in Iraq. It's hoped the United States will never again violate the Powell Doctrine of a clear mission, overwhelming force and careful planning, and that the U.S. will never again try to wage a war of survival on the cheap.
Retired Lieutenant Colonel USMCR Steve Brozak served briefly in Iraq and Kuwait before he was released from active duty in 2003.