If only America's leaders could have foreseen the contempt — at home, abroad, and even in the country they 'liberated' — their long-term presence in Iraq would bring.
The US should reduce its troop presence in Iraq so as not to appear an "occupying force", a key 20-member US security commission has recommended.
The panel of retired police and military officers told the Senate that Iraqi forces should be replacing US troops by early next year.
But the report also warned Iraqi troops would not be ready to take over fully within the next 18 months.
It also said the Iraqi police force was ineffective and should be scrapped.
The report is the latest in a series to be considered by the US Congress as it debates the Iraq war.
This is another September report on United States progress in Iraq. A GAO study also came out recently; the mother of all reports will be presented to Congress by the lead US commander in Iraq Gen. George Petraeus and US ambassador to the nation Ryan Crocker on Monday.
The White House is hoping that the "surge", the subject of the Petraeus report, will work or is working, if not in reality than in the minds of the public (i.e. even if it doesn't actually help the conditions on the ground in Iraq, people would think so thanks to the ample spin echoing from the press briefing room).
American policy in Iraq has been making many headlines lately; I expect more and more pressure will be mounted on the Bush administration from politicians, including from the Republican Party, as well as the American public, nations abroad, and the Iraqis. Will President Bush be forced to the international diplomatic table? Will he have much leverage left or many people willing to cooperate with him by then?
According to a wide-scale BBC World Service survey, most of the world's people want the United States out of Iraq soon.