The national unity on the Iraq war is to get out, How many polls and elections do the very old old wise men of Washington need to see to start getting that fact straight? You'd think they would consider how the Iraq people feel in all of this too. Simply mind numbing.
Gates seems to be part of the "mainstream" elite consensus which holds that Iraq is almost certainly doomed, but that we should sort of keep on prosecuting the war for years and years just because it would be embarrassing to give up and, hell, who knows maybe a pony will come along. That sort of thing works, I think, if and only if you regard the war as a total abstraction, rather than actual events happening to actual people.