From a psychological point of view, you simply can't force democracy on a people. Democracy, separation of church and state, industrialization, due process, rights of the individual, and all those other wonderful western "inventions" took centuries to evolve and finally become a part of the national consciousness. Each event has its own prerequisites which must be met with complete success before any advancement can be made. We in the west have had hundreds of years of social evolution and turmoil which has led to the system we have today. Although well intentioned, successive American administrations have failed and will continue to fail in their efforts to impose democracy because of their short-sidedness, and some may say, arrogance, in believing that a people, irregardless of their stage of social evolution, will simply adapt to democracy at our command.
Our efforts in Iraq, unfortunately, will therefore fail.
If we take your defetest stance, Hepkat, and don't even TRY to make it work, then we're sure to fail. Maybe it will, but I think we should give the effort a chance before descending like an "I-told-you-so" lynch mob on the place.
In order for democracy and other western machinaries to be successfully accepted and adapted, there's a long list of social prerequisites that MUST be met, chief among those are a meaningful degree of separation of church and state, the subjugation of ecclesiastic to philosophical and secular thought and the unification of autonomous tribes by a conquering centralized power willing to accept and honor some sort of Magna Carta, i.e., governance for and by the people. The U.S. might have the will but not the magic to affect such monumental changes in the space of a few decades.
Far from being defeatist, I'm actually adopting a realistic and tolerant approach; tolerant in the sense that I don't believe we need to "try", as you put it, to make anything work. When they're ready and when they've achieved the necessary prerequisites, they will evolve on their own to a system of freedom in keeping with their own culture and way of life, just as we have. Our only role in all this should be that of the good friend, i.e., to gently nudge them in the right direction, not to impose our own views by force.
We must learn to live and let live if we're going to achieve any measure of lasting peace in this world.
We need to change the fundamental cultural framework which makes it possible for tyrants like Saddam to raise to power.
Oh God, isn't anyone listening?!?!? You CAN'T change a culture, it evolves on its own! Don't you understand that this is precisely the type of arrogance (however well-intentioned) that constantly gets the U.S. into trouble with other countries?
It seems as if we never learn. "Geez, that country looks pretty bad. Let's bring them our enlightened, American brand of democracy. They'll thank us, we'll trade billions, afterwhich we'll all hold hands, sing Kumbayah and worship Jesus Christ."