I don't know who first brought up the slogan "winning hearts and minds." But is there any reason to believe this was a goal of the U.S. even from the very beginning of this obscene illegal "war?" It was all "shock and awe" from the start. The massive bombing that killed civilians indiscriminately, the brutal searches of Iraqi households and arrests of innocent people, the trigger-happy shooting of cars and people, Abu Ghraib, renditions, and now the Habitha massacre. Way to go, Bush/Cheney, this is certainly the way to win over hearts and minds.
Given the facts it is impossible to believe that winning hearts and minds was a goal of this administration - ever. Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice and the other neocons obviously didn't give a damn for Iraqi hearts and minds. It was all oil and control of the Middle East (which it still is). It is amusing that people, even people presumably in high level positions, still talk about when U.S. troops will come home, want a deadline, dream of a White Christmas, and other fantasies. I will repeat it for the nth time: Bush/Cheney/et al have no intention of bringing troops home from Iraq. They refuse to give a deadline, refuse to admit they are building permanent bases, say only when "Iraqis stand up, we will stand down." Crap! We will stay militarily in Iraq until we are forced out by someone (an unlikely scenario at the moment). Of course the Iraqi disaster will eventually collapse just as we collapsed in Vietnam. It probably would have by now if we had a draftee army instead of an all volunteer army (that hardly anyone cares about except the families of the volunteers). This is like a "war" taking place in a galaxy far away. The mainstream press and television mostly ignore it in favor of American Idol and car chases. It has long since passed being front page news. War? What war? The idea of a 24 hour news channel might have been a good idea - if they would actually give us any news. They spend hours on a car chase, days on a missing girl, weeks on topics that are so inconsequential as to be pathetic, all the while ignoring everything else going on in the entire world. The basic idea seems to be that U.S. citizens don't really need or want any news, what they want is entertainment. And they even fail at that, offering programs so miserably awful that no one with an IQ of more than 50 will even watch them, except the 15 year-old children for whom they are made and who by now don't know any better.
There is no way the United States is going to spin its way out of this mess. Bush/Cheney and the neocons are criminals, and what is worse, war criminals. They are guilty of the most heinous crimes against humanity. The U.S. will never regain any standing in the international community again until these thugs are held accountable for what they have done. Don't even think of impeachment. That would be far too mild a punishment for their mass murder and torture.