By now you've likely seen the headline.
Which seems odd, as militarily the war was won many long months ago. But here's what Kissinger actually said:
"If you mean by 'military victory' an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don't believe that is possible," he told the British Broadcasting Corp. [bolded for emphasis]
In other words, Kissinger didn't say that a win was impossible. He said that, in his opinion, the US and British electorates won't allow their governments to stay long enough to assist the Iraqi government in finishing the job of stabilizing the country into a peaceful democracy. But is that the impression you'd get from the headline and the article?
Being in Iraq, I don't have the luxury to surf the 'Net and read what the anti-war activists are saying about this, but I suspect that they're praising Nixon's most senior statesman for "seeing the light" that they-- in their infinite wisdom-- have always known. But, of course, nothing is ever quite that simple, is it? And I would caution you to read everything he says before jumping to the conclusion that the architect of the Grand Design has already consigned us to failure...
...Put another way, if the US only had the political will to support our European campaign during World War II for, say, twelve to eighteen months, then it would have been entirely accurate if Charles Evans Hughes (Kissinger's rough historical equivalent for that time period) had said: "We can't defeat the Nazis in a time period that political processes of the democracies will support." That's because it actually took about forty-two months to defeat the Nazi regime, and we did defeat the Nazis.
Indeed we did. The actual war in Iraq was won months, even years ago. To be exact it was won in October of last year, when the Iraqi people elected a permanent government under their new constitution. What's going on now is something different, the reconstruction of a battered nation and the stabilization of a nascent democracy, in a region not terribly conducive to democracy. In Germany, it took over four years from the end of the war for a new government to be established. In Japan, it took seven. In both cases, American military assistance continued for many more years.
What Kissinger was saying is that he does not believe that the American electorate has the patience or willingness to help a new democratic nation survive to stability, that we lack the will to do for Iraq what we did in Germany and Japan. And he warns that abandoning Iraq would be the exact wrong thing for us to do.
"A dramatic collapse of Iraq - whatever we think about how the situation was created - would have disastrous consequences for which we would pay for many years and which would bring us back, one way or another, into the region," he said.
But is that the impression you'd get from the headline and the article?