"The midterm elections were only the latest occasion for Americans to listen to shop-worn variants of the 'cut and run' or 'stay the course' sound bites describing our choices in Iraq. All such characterizations are wrong. The real choice facing us is to decide how seriously we take the war. Most observers would rightly conclude that up until now the United States remains uncommitted to the fight. Less than 13 percent of our 1.4 million active-duty military are deployed in Iraq. Fewer than 15,000 of the 150,000 troops in Iraq today are actually engaged in combat operations. The insurgents and the death-squad militias in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan have figured this out. While not 10-feet tall, this loose collection of groups is resilient, adaptive and tenacious, and the insurgents are fighting on their home turf. If we want to rescue any favorable outcome in Iraq, the nation must decide whether or not to commit itself to the fight. This should be the starting point for the Baker Commission and the other groups examining courses of action in Iraq. Being at war and committing the nation to achieving its objectives in Iraq means shared sacrifice and service, and may mean higher taxes. It means getting serious about the nonsensical way our military is organized and funded, wrenching these hidebound bureaucracies away from their Cold War mentality. Perhaps most importantly, it means engaging the American people in a national debate about the real human and monetary costs that are entailed in rescuing success in Iraq."
Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Contemporary Conflict: http://www.ccc.nps.navy.mil
Strategic Insights (January 2007), v.6 no.1