For the longest time I've said that the Iraq war is going very, very badly. I have even pulled the classic "I-told-you-so," recalling how I was against this war from the start.
Turns out I had it all wrong. Because from the perspective of the war's founders, the most important parts are going according to plan.
Saddam Hussein is gone. Installed is an Iraqi government that still has just enough pro-U.S. pieces in place that want to keep the military around. Which leads to...
One of the major goals in Iraq was to give the United States a military presence in a region that is substantially anti-American (yes, even counting the Saudis and Israelis). The U.S. military is building bases in Iraq that are designed to last for decades, not days. The Pentagon is entrenched in the heart of the Middle East, giving the U.S. a place from which to strike out in future missions.
As a side bonus, companies with close ties to the White House have profited from no-bid contracts totaling in the billions of dollars with no real oversight or accountability.
Another plus: the Executive Branch has consolidated power (a pet project of Vice President Dick Cheney) under the justification that it's war time.
Sectarian violence, soldiers in harm's way, a military nearing the breaking point, billions of taxpayers' dollars spent, an actual increase in global terrorism (especially against allies like Britain) — that's not a mark of a lack of success to the war's neoconservative founders. It was planned for and acceptable. Collateral damage from the start.
So even while this war is a disaster to more than two-thirds of normal Americans, from the West Wing it looks just fine. Really.