I used to think that until I read up more on Petraeus (read the book Fiasco). There is actually a logic to how he wages war that is totally revolutionary in many ways, he understands warfare under the circumstances of these cultures, he knows the definition of "winning" as understood by the average American chauvinist sucker-for-Bush is simply impossible, but that achieving aims that are beneficial to the US is not necessarily so, and that to do so requires NOT killing people indiscrimately, a totally un-Rumsfeldian idea. I'm at least willing to give it a chance. His basic theory is that American forces identify who in a given society could possibly be friends if WE changed the way WE were acting, and then for us to change OUR behavior to win them over and enlist them against the factions we want to beat, and here is the key point: let them enjoy the spoils of victory instead of us. All these third world societies are riddled with internal divisions, part of our warfare should be to take advantage of them, instead of calling all of one type of people "terrorists" and "Islamo-fascists" and all the other Bush-era malarky. When we do that, they unite against us. If we take into consideration where the group we consider to be our enemy fits in their internal-division calculus, we can whittle the opposition down to the core group that needs to be killed, and turn the mess over to the groups we won over.
Petraeus or not, the turning point in the Iraq war came when many Iraqis who were previously members of the Iraqi Army disbanded under Bremer (the stupidest move ever) were finally placed on US payroll. It is my honest opinion, that Bush, in his desperation not to look like a total failure, has simply thrown billions of dollars at Iraq and put every Dick and Harry on our payroll. We essentially paid those who killed our troops to sit back and do nothing. There are confirmed reports that this has indeed been done. How else do you explain the sudden increase in the cost of Iraq and Afghan wars from about $5 billion a month to about $ 12 billion/month practically overnight? It wasn't the addition of those extra 30,000 troops that more than doubled the cost of these wars.
So in summary, we bought a temporary lull in Iraq with billions of dollars that we borrowed from China. When the money dries up for whatever reason, it is back to square one. No, the "Bush strategy" has not succeeded in my opinion. Waging wars of aggression on credit while cutting taxes to the most affluent people, is no doubt the most idiotic and irresponsible move that anybody could ever make and I think Bush is the first in the history of this world to pull something like this off.
As for Afghanistan, I agree with Shane that this war is not winnable. You cannot win hearts and minds of people by bombing villages and killing thousands of innocent civilians. Soviets packed their bags and so will we. It is just a matter of time, and it will happen quickly if China decides not to loan the US any more money.
I also firmly believe in a war tax. If these wars are so crucial to defending our freedom, which is of course total BS and propaganda, then let's tax every taxpayer additional 4 to 5% a year to cover the cost of these wars. I guarantee you, that introducing a mandatory war tax is the surest and quickest way to end these wars.
As it is, the only ones benefiting from these wars are the military industrial complex and war profiteer contractors. Everybody else loses.