I see not much has changed here in the past 7 months or so despite the enormous changes made on the ground in Iraq.
We ARE succeeding in Iraq. Where once there was a fascist dictatorship which was an avowed enemy of the US, regularly fired on US forces, attempted to assassinate former US Presidents, supported and sheltered terrorists, invaded its neighbors, and slaughtered its own people; there is now a democratically elected government which is allied with the US in the fight against the terrorists. That is a good thing!
Where once in Iraq there was great support for al Qaeda in the Sunni areas of Iraq, where the people joined with al Qaeda and took up arms against the US, there is now hatred for al Qaeda and the people have joined forces with the US and the Iraqi security forces to drive al Qaeda from al Anbar. That is a good thing!
Where once in Iraq there were Shi'ite militias such as the Mahdi Army that controlled vast portions of the country, intimidated the population, and attacked US and Iraqi government forces; today 'al Sadr and his Mahdi Army have been marginalized to near irrelevance. That also is a good thing!
Is Iraq a garden spot today? Of course not.
Is Iraq today a Jeffersonian democracy? Don't be ridiculous.
Are we better off today than we were 5, 3, or 2 years ago? You bet we are for the reasons listed above.