I agree with you and I was just reading how US army officials have said that it could take upto 10 years to crush the insurgency in Iraq. Do the American people have the stomach's for 10 years of fighting someone else's war? You have already lost almost 1,000 young men and women. How do you now bow out gracefully and save face?
I'll have to read that article. I'm not sure how they would come to that 10 year figure. Regarding "bow out gracefully and save face" isn't an issue. Iraq is an example to other countries in the region. Again it doesn't come as a surprise that suddenly Libya wants to come back into the fold of the international community. Syria, Jordan and Iran are re-thinking their dealings with the US.
The bottom line is we'll never be able to build a democracy in any country if a large portion of the people aren't behind it and if there aren't strong leaders who are willing to lead the people toward that goal. On the other hand, even the thought of letting these countries pursue WMD of scary and we must do what is needed to discourage it. This should be done first through international channels support with a good intelligence system and if needed military strikes. Just as in the 80's when Israel hit that nuke plant Iran was building for the purpose of constructing nuke bombs, we need to do the same.
As a side note, the US should have done much more to prevent countries like China from giving nuke technology to North Korea and Pakistan. Too late now but we can learn from this mistake.