Here's the deal. The Bushies have lately been downgrading expectations for the election, and will soon be downgrading the expectations for the occupation itself. After the January 30 election, chaos will reign in Iraq, we all know that--even the administration predicts it--but what will happen is that our troops will withdraw into the many bases we've built in Iraq and will therefore suffer fewer deaths while they watch what plays out in Iraq. Craziness, of course, but our forces will intrude only when the craziness begins to impinge on the actions of the pro-US government that is bound to be elected.
Bottom line: Bush will claim victory in Iraq by the establishment of a large US force in the nation to watchdog its government and police its politics so that it remains loyal to the US. What this will look like, precisely, is the Vichy government of France, where the Nazis allowed the southern French to run their domestic affairs with Nazi oversight, largely because the Nazis couldn't afford the money and troops to be full-time enforcers in the region, but they nevertheless maintained fierce control.
There won't be anything like "democracy" in Iraq. It will be a cauldron of conflict and misery--but it will be our cauldron. We'll be in place, wedged into and in control of the country and its assets and its politics.
Bottom, bottom line: This is, of course, why our soldiers died: so we could control Iraq. The same reason Caesar's legions and Alexander's armies died. Not for democracy, for empire.