Bush's illegal, immoral war against Iraq should never have been fought. But it was quickly lost in the wake of his "Mission Accomplished" speech. Credit the defeat to his administration's gross strategic incompetence -- which allowed the insurgency to develop - and (to quote Murray and Scales) its inability "to grasp the nature of its opponents and their capabilities."
Finally, if we genuinely seek to assure that the current debate over the United States' failure in Iraq yields constructive results, we must ignore the advice of James Dobbins to blame all Americans and begin the painful and potentially disruptive process of racking and stacking. After all, in America's so-called meritocracy, the people who got it wrong should pay a price. Public humiliations, remedial training, demotions, resignations, dismissals, newsroom shakeups, think-tank purges, criminal indictments, congressional investigations and impeachments, where warranted, would mark the beginning of genuine accountability.
What better way to yield constructive results for future administrations than to expose the arguments of, and render justice to, the ideologues, pundits and politicians who either mongered for an unprovoked war or acquiesced in it?