The recent observance of "Patriots' Day" raises uncomfortable questions about what the U.S. will or won't accomplish in the "War on Terror". A good example of what is meant by victory or democracy can be seen in news about Al-Anbar province. Is it lost due to too few troops or a failure to grasp basic counter-insurgency techniques. A recent report from Marine intelligence suggests a lack of resources among other things. On the other hand a basic distrust of Iraqis perhaps has led to failure as well .
Another hitherto unthinkable thought might be what happens if an Islamic Caliphate were to be established. Such a possiblity was raised in Thomas Ricks' otherwise thoughtful "Fiasco". Here he postulated a "worst case " scenario of a charasmatic Islamic leader overthrowing the present nonrepresentative governments of the Arabic MidEast and establishing a state from north Africa to Iraq. As a precedent he cited Saladin, the greatest hero of the Islamic world at the time of the crusades. It's time to start thinking outside of the box. Here might be a place to start.