JohnG expresses a reasonable fear:
We’re at brink, at this moment, of handing the jihadists the greatest recruiting tool – our withdrawal in shame and defeat from Iraq – in the history of Islam.
That’s true. But what he’s either missing or glossing over is that this became INEVITABLE once the decision to stick around Iraq and play Purple-Fingered Nation Builder was taken. The history of what passes for democracy in Turkey, Indonesia, Palestine and Algeria proves that the Bush administration signed up America’s troops for an impossible task.
So, instead of leaving behind a shocked and awed Middle East, we’ll leave an encouraged and emboldened one. This isn’t news, some of us have known that would be the result since 2004. Check my column archive, you’ll see that’s why I went from supporting the wars to unseat Saddam Hussein and the Taliban to vehemently and viciously criticizing the Afghani and Iraqi Occupations.
It’s called biting off more than you can chew. We’re not the first great military power to make that mistake, we won’t be the last. If we’ve learned from our mistakes, there will probably be one more surge to provide some level of cover for our pull-out, plus the establishment of a quasi-independent Kurdish state that will allow us to claim some lasting positive legacy there.
If we haven’t, we’ll invade Iran.
The other possibility would be to destablize the entire peninsula by removing five or six area regimes, pulling out and letting the various factions occupy themselves with fighting it out for the prize. The danger there would be the possibility a strong and unified Caliphate being established, which the Law of Unintended Consequences suggests would likely be the case.