Dr. Horsefeathers quotes Victor Hansen in this entry about our situation in Iraq,
While Saddam's elite troops were clearly beaten, they were routed so rapidly and without extreme loss of life that they themselves, along with neutral observers, were not altogether sure that with their defeat would come humiliation and with humiliation readiness to change.
Thousands of them now wonder whether killing an American or two isn't such bad sport, since they got off so easily during the real war — and wager that such magnanimity will still be typical rather than exceptional. The result is that we must now hunt down reprieved diehards one by one, at much greater danger and cost — and kill them individually (let us hope at the rate of 100 or so for every American shot at)...."
A.V.Suvorov (A Russian Generalisimus of 18th Century) has this quote attributed to him, "Enemy destoyed or surrounded - success. Territory gained, enemy repulsed - failure" (from "Book for Young Officers" as I recall it now)
We had to compromise between destroying 200,000 or so people for the sake of scaring a couple of thousand, or dealing with these few thousand later. It seems like a necessary and humane choice. However, I think our politics betrayed us from the very beginning where we gave the impression that
1. We would give a lot of autonomy very quickly
2. We would leave as soon as possible, instead of leaving when our job is done.
I think that approach not only left a lot of people in power or positions of authority that it should not have, but also created an expectation among the non-violent Iraqis that they must not speak up or do anything because USA will be gone soon, and the loudmouthed demagogues will be joined by the left over thugs to form a new government. Instead of dismantling *all* of the political and military institutions and rebuilding them from scratch we were hoping "things would just work out" somehow. And that is not the fault of the military, but of the Administration which could not decide how it should sell the war, whether it was a liberation or occupation, whether we want to build a democracy or just remove Saddam.