[T]he US government has come to accept it is never going to implant Jeffersonian democracy in Baghdad.
So goals have been adjusted, compromises made. The US forces know they have to be pragmatic if they are ever going to leave this place.
The sheikh told me - with the American officer next to him in full agreement - that 60% of his men were former insurgents.
The Americans have no illusions that they can end the violence in Iraq. They just hope to reduce it enough to hand the whole problem to the Iraqis.
For starters, I don't think anyone expected to end violence. Violence never ends, it only drops to manageable levels -- even in the USA.
Second, I find it funny how now we're saying Iraq is not ready for democracy. If we'd said that before the war, we would've been called racist Christian bigots.
Third, I find it funny that we assume democracy works for anyone. It seems to require cultural fragmentation to generate enough opposing opinions to keep itself going. And then it can't make the long-term decisions required.
Why would Iraq want democracy, with that in mind?