Let's be absolutely clear on this....
A common refrain from the defenders of the status quo (or the "escalation" ... or "augmentation" in the NewSpeak of Condi Rice) is that we have to "win"; if we don't do something to win in Iraq (what doesn't matter, nor the practicality of such, as long as it's something), then we will "lose" ... and worse yet, the 3000+ soldiers that have died in this "defeat" will have died in vain.
Let's be absolutely clear:
Those 3000 soldiers that have died already have died to get us to where we're at now. That's just a fact; you may not like it, but that's undisputable. Maybe they were thinking they died to get us to somewhere else; maybe those that sent them thought these deaths would get us to somewhere else (if they thought much about it at all). But in fact, they got us to where we're at.
If we "stay the course", or engage in some other policy, more soldiers will likely die. If in the end we succeed in bringing Iraq back from the hellhole it's become, and something good comes out of it (or even less bad), it will be the deaths to come that have been paid to get us out again.
The question of what our policy should be ought to focus not on the lives tragically wasted so far, but rather on the lives yet on the line, and whether they're worth the expected results. Given that it's taken 3000 lives so far to create a hellhole, someone with a brain should ask whether another 3000 lives ought to be anticipated in order to just get us back out of the hole.