Most simply put, victory in Iraq would be the sum conditions in which whenever we leave the country, and under whatever circumstances we withdraw our greatest amount of military presence it is made clear and can be clearly established that we left under our own choice and under conditions of our own will and making, and that our military was not driven off of by an external martial force.

If upon our leaving a bunch of idiots in a basement or a cave can cackle and brag that they have “driven off the Great Satan” then we have lost.

If the international perception is that our military presence in any foreign land was ended upon attack by external forces, like terrorists or insurgents or guerillas, or rebels, that makes our entire nation look weaker for it. That we seem weak at all is what invites attack or defiance by lesser forces.

What are the precise conditions in a foreign country upon which we should withdraw? Whom should be utterly crushed into a fine, mist-like substance before we can safely leave with our reputation intact?

I don’t know that.