Richard Perle reminds us why we invaded, what we achieved, where and why we erred and the present situation:
Since the refocused effort known as the "surge", Iraqis in mounting numbers are rejecting the violent path of the insurgency. Al-Qa'eda in Iraq has lost momentum and is struggling to stave off defeat. Traditional Iraqi leaders have turned against the jihadists. And while there are still suicide bombers eager to earn a ticket to paradise by killing innocents, the tide has turned. The prospects for democratic governance are brighter in Iraq than any Arab country. But it will take time.
The "surge" is working because it is a partnership, not an occupation. It is led by a wiser, chastened administration and an impressive team of military officers. I believe the strategy could have been adopted much earlier, and would have spared much pain.
Only the Iraqis themselves can build a humane, open society that fairly reflects the diversity of a great civilisation. They needed our help to remove Saddam five years ago and they need us to stay the course now. I believe we will.