DISCLAIMER: Just opinion sprinkled with some of my experiences and some confusion.
It's been a while since I have posted in here and even longer since I started a post. Let me start this by saying I am conservative and as a former soldier a hardcore supporter of every last one of our troops.
I do not want this post to be perceived as a bring the troops home nor do I want it to be perceived as push ahead at all costs. In my time in the army I saw the balkans through several "peacekeeping" NATO deployments.
In Bosnia and Kosovo we went in to put a stop to the mass murdering that Milosevic was comitting against people in his society that were Muslim or not Christian(he slaughtered thousands of gypsies). In these places the masses of people just wanted order restored and their freedom to do what they wanted when they wanted.
I believe Bosnia and Kosovo were successes because the people wanted our troops to restore freedom. Rewind to Somalia. I think our mishap in Mogadishu was ill timed and even more poorly planned. They sent those Rangers and Delta operators in about 2 weeks after they sent back 20,000 Marines and were forced to use poorly trained foreign nations as back up to these Special operators.
With all that the whole Somalian mission was doomed to failure from the get go and it was probably better off that our Marines went home. Had they been there and unleashed on the city we could have possibly been fighting in Somalia like we are in Iraq. I'm getting off track... The people of Somalia didn't want order and freedom, they wanted chaos and they wanted to fight for the power of who would be the ruling "warlord".
I believe Iraq and Afghanistan are a much larger scale Somalia. The mass of the people may want freedom but the controlling minority(see insurgents) have all the weapons and the ability to scare the majority (through bombings and such) into silence and submission. Until the everday citizens band together in these places we will not be successful in building democracy.
We are stuck in a lose lose in these countries because if we leave they tailspin even further into wasp nests of terror breeding grounds. If we stay more troops die.