Great to see you are a cadet and have a strong interest in the Marines. They certainly have a fantastic fighting history particularly in the Pacific War in WW2.
Getting back to the topic.
I hope that we can get on top of the problems in Iraq fairly soon and a form of stable government can be achieved for the sake of all the Iraqi people.
To win any war you have to win the battle first, then win the peace. Winning the peace is usually more difficult than winning the war as it requires a lot more varying skills and resources than with fighting. I don't think the US planned for the "peace" very well. I think they hoped for the best case scenario and went for it.
If you haven't planned well for the peace then don't get into a war in the first place. The US will be in Iraq for a long time if they don't want the country to tear itself apart. I believe the violence will continue like it is now. Many more excellent US soldiers (including Marines) and innocent Iraqis (non combatants) will get killed.
In WW2 we had little choice in fighting Germany and Japan but while the war was still raging a lot of time and effort went into planning a post war peace. Even then there were still huge problems particularly in post war Germany.
A read a book recently called "Conqueror's Road" by Omar White. Omar White was an Australian journalist who was attached to Patton's 5th Army as it went into Germany. He describes the fighting and the problems in post war Germany. You should find it an interesting read Damien, about your country's military history in WW2.
Any way I am starting to ramble on a bit. I hope to read more of your forum contributions.