In my opinion, what everyone fails to realize is that this is not a counterinsurgency. If we wanted to stay in Iraq, then it would be a
counterinsurgency. But it is clear that our goal is to turn over power and pull out. So, in building our strategic endstate, it's pointless to set goals that relate to our presence in Iraq. If the "insurgency" is a function of our being there, then it is not an insurgency in terms of our endstate. For example, if one of our goals is to stop IED attacks on US forces, that is pointless. When we leave, there will be no more IED attacks on us forces. So our endstate needs to be different. We need to ask "if we left tomorrow, what would happen in Iraq?" and from there, we need to determine which of those anticipated results are unacceptable to us. Then we must aim our efforts on making sure those unacceptable results do not occur.
When I look at the problem that way, it becomes almost impossible to find a purpose in what we do.
It's impossible because this is a wholly irrational way to look at the problem. No objective observer can, at this stage, believe that the insurgency will die down if the United States withdraws its troops. Clearly, the Iraqi government cannot handle its own security.
I think that beginning with the premise that the insurgency is "a function of our being there" is really begging the question. This is by no means proven . . .