This article from the Washington Post details how the current US administration is gradually coming to realise that their initial "plans" for post-war Iraq were based on a very faulty understanding of Iraqi history and politics. With all the government officials being quoted anonymously, it appears that they are still rather skittish about openly admitting the unrealistic and even naive nature of the original ambitions for a unified, secular, pro-western government to emerge after the "liberation" from Saddam Hussein.
U.S. officials now acknowledge that they misread the strength of the sentiment among Kurds and Shi'ites to create a special status. The Shi'ites' request this month for autonomy to be guaranteed in the constitution stunned the Bush administration, even after more than two years of intense intervention in Iraq's political process, they said.The US administration is giving up such hopes as the enshrinement of women's rights in the constitution, a totally secular government and the complete integration of Kurds and Shi'ites into a unified Iraq. Instead, they are now focusing limiting the failures by influencing the constitutional process to make it easier to amend in the future, and establishing some credibility and order in an accelerated withdrawal of coalition troops and advisers.