Unfortunately, I have a sinking feeling this is going to turn into another long-term war, as we are increasingly drawn into conflicts in the oil-producing regions of the Mideast. And if the Sunni-Shiite sectarian conflict flares into open warfare, as it shows signs of doing, all bets are off. Things are going to get UGLY.
They ARE Ugly.. we over committed ourselves back in the early part of this decade. Every military leader with a star on his shoulder that said so got the boot courtesy of Donald Rumsfeld, and now we're going to pay that price. We overlooked the vulnerbility of the Afganistan/Pakistan border and the influence of the Taliban in Pakistan. That should have been our focus. Saddam was a bastard, sick and twisted but he understood the bottom line (like the Colonel).
We could have leaned on him, worked Afganistan on the front burner from day one. As anyone who has seen the military messes that have occurred in that region since Alexander the great would know, quick fast effective moves and management are the way that region should have been handled.
Instead we spent years fighting insurgency in Iraq that was mostly our fault since we didn't control the borders when we invaded. Syria and Iran both slipped folks in and I'm betting support groups to this day. What a bloody waste of time and man power this has been.
Right now, thanks to 'right sizing' we couldn't commit people to the ground in another region effectively. Hopefully the European powers who have been the Colonel's victims for so long should do it. I'd like the Arab League to do it..but honestly I don't trust most of them to contribute to rebuilding an effective country afterward.