In Bush's press conference of today, he was asked if his commitment in Iraq was open ended. In reply, he said no, that it wasn't but clarified what constituted the conditions for victory in Iraq. In answering this question, he said that Iraq would have to be relatively free of violence, stable, and not a safe harbor for Al Qaeda or terrorists from abroad. This, of course, yields a largely "open-ended" result because none of this will be accomplished in the short term. He also volunteered while attempting to explain the extent of our involvement by saying that victory in Iraq will not be one where we formally sign a peace treaty between warring parties. In other words, this is effectively tantamount to the presently unbounded "war on terror" in which we are now engaged, ostensibly for an indefinite period of time. Given that we have already constructed thirteen military bases in Iraq, it seems rather obvious that the president envisions our military involvement in Iraq on a long-term basis -- decades and not in months or years.
If I were to extrapolate, it would appear that Pres. Bush's idea of prosecuting the war on terror involves establishing a permanent U.S. military presence in Iraq from which future military projections can be made to various trouble spots throughout the region. This is pure speculation on my part, but when I hear both the president and other Republican leaders say, "Well, would you rather fight them here in the U.S.?", it would logically lead one to believe that no, they would rather fight them over "there" by forcing them to confront us "there" and not "here". However, such reasoning assumes that they (the terrorists) can't chew gum and walk at the same time. In other words, what would stop the terrorists from launching terrorist acts in the U.S. while also attacking our forces in Iraq? The answer is "nothing".
Isn't it ironic that in his rush to invade Iraq, Pres. Bush created the conditions or the basis by which chaos ensued in Iraq, thereby enabling the terrorists to attract large numbers of new recruits while simultaneously establishing a foothold of their own where none had existed before. If that doesn't constitute a catastrophic failure, what does? President Bush has effectively become the most successful recruitment poster figure for Al Qaeda and other haters of America.
Congratulations, Mr. President. Helluva job.