I see that George W Bush is about to send more men to Iraq.
20,000 to 50,000 is probably too little though. There might be ways to succeed in Iraq (most of those ways involve changing definitions of "success"), but sending not enough combat troops isn't it. Combat troops, as Jerry Pournelle is found of saying, are for breaking things and killing people. In Iraq, those combat troops are likely to kill at least as many civilians as actual insurgents or Al Qaeda. I wouldn't be surprised if, in fact, the U.S. military is killing 5 times more civilians than insurgents or terrorists. That's the nature of war, particularly a war where the stronger party's primary purpose is force protection.
What Iraq needs are massive numbers (perhaps half a million) police and constabulary. They need to be on the ground, walking the beat, actually getting to know the civilians and protecting them from insurgents. Unfortunately, that also means that they should not drive around in Abrams tanks or Bradley fighting vehicles or hummers, rushing from point A to point B, shooting civilians and cars who won't stop for them and avoiding bombs on the ground. They need to be *on* the ground, talking to people. That means doing actual hearts-and-minds work, and walking where they're vulnerable. It means taking casualties and losing the occasional battle in order to win the war.
This is not, however, a mission that the U.S. (not just the military, but the whole population) is willing to take. Since Bush is probably going to continue with his doctrine of shock, awe, and paying billions to Republican donating private security and services companies (instead of actually providing more than an hour of electricity a day to Iraq), there is probably no chance of success unless he goes ahead and performs the ethnic cleansing himself. No population, no civil war. Leaving anyone alive is counter-productive. They'll out-breed americans and, after breeding, will go off to attack americans wherever they are.
I think that's unfortunate, I certainly don't condone terrorism. On the other hand, I'm not blind to reality, and the reality is, the current American president, American government and industry are making things far worse than they found them. And when they leave, they're not going to rebuild anything, they'll just leave with the blood of hundreds of thousands of civilians on their hands and go off to save someplace else for democracy.
And perhaps the U.S. military and government will learn its lesson and stay home for a generation (until the public forgets and some other republican fundamentalist president goes off to start another war of choice and kill another half-million ragheads).