Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith, Britain's most senior military commander in the field, says that we should not expect "a decisive military victory". This should serve as a timely wake-up call in Westminster and Washington.
Stomach-wrenching though such a course would be, both Northern Ireland and South Africa provide examples of where negotiations have worked. Similarly in Iraq, the Americans struck a deal with Sunni tribal leaders in Iraq's Anbar province, allying them to the US and not al-Qaeda, thereby reducing violence.
The Government has a responsibility to our Armed Forces to ensure casualties are kept to a minimum: pursing a more flexible strategy may be one way of doing that.