OK, think back a moment to those dark days just after 9/11. Casualty estimates are still around 10,000, nothing is flying, there is only one major news story being reported. Experts everywhere gavely assure us we will be hit several times more, probably this year but certainly within the next few. Osama is hiding in Afghanistan thumbing his nose at us from behind his Islamofascist Taliban babysitters. And even if we had an ally that bordered Afghanistan, this is still the country the Soviets couldn't take.
If you suggested at that point that by Jan 2005 we would not only have had zero terror attacks on U.S. soil, have run the Taliban out of power in Afghanistan (partly by getting Pakistan on our side), and held free and fair elections there, but we would also have Saddam Hussein not just overthrown but actually on trial, and be on the verge of holding elections in Iraq, all done with fewer than 2000 U.S. casualties -- you'd have been laughed at as a ridiculous optimist for the first two alone, and for the last two probably had your sanity questioned.
There have been challenges, but it's important to realize just how much we have accomplished and how far we've come.