Reality, we could simply take the entirety of the Middle East within two weeks, spend about a year fighting a ground war wiping out every possible bit of opposition using our advanced satellite technology to track targets and scan for them, and then that area is simply ours. Assuming one had a competent leader and plan for them to execute
And... y'know... assuming we were comfortable with all the civilian deaths that such an attack would cause. That, fundamentally, is why recent American wars have tended to drag on for so long; it's not an issue of competence or planning (those aren't perfect either, but they're secondary) - it's that the entire approach is based on trying to win while doing as little actual damage as is humanly possible.
And the real danger to America is the prospect of a commander in chief who equates that approach with weakness or lack of resolve, and decides to do it differently. Because at that point, the "America is the new evil empire" meme stops becoming the exclusive preserve of teenage Trotskyists, and becomes something the whole world has to take seriously.