This weekend the NY Times ran a very good thought piece on the likely outcome of a precipitous withdrawal from Bush's Iraq Mess. The choices facing any resolution of the BIM are all bad.
WE could stay there
Not really. While General Petraeus is an impressive man, I suspect that his magic powers are limited and the chaos is simply too great for any clean solution within the patience of the electorate.
We could just withdraw.
If it were only that simple. The problem is WHO owuld manage the withdrawal?
At a minimum, in order to withdraw, we need a policy and the means to:
1. Secure the lives of those who have chosen to side with us. This means assuring the security of the Kurds and individuals in Shia and Sunni areas.
2, Prevent a takeover in the South by Iran OR a Shiite Islamic government that would ally itself with the IR of Iran. can you imagine a well governed Shia army on the Kuwaiti/Saudi border?
3. Have in place a plan to pacify the Israeli/Palestinian front.
All of these are doable, but probably NOT by the Bush regime. Their incompetence, moreover, would be blamed on the left while likely inciting a world wide energy crisis and possibly setting off a war of world wide significance.
So we have a catch 22.
Enforce a withdrawal to be run by the Bushies or play for enough time to get a responsible set of adults into power. The catch 22 is that time is our enemy. We have is an irredentist POSUS on one side and KOS, with his withdraw at all costs, mantra in the other. In the middle is a HUGE majority who would vote for withdrawal if there were a strategic plan for accomplishing this. But, if there is no obvious way, short of impeachment, to achieve a leader who could lead a withdrawal, the only alternative for the Democratic party is to prolong things and hope Bush does not further screw up BIM.
There is, however, a moderate Republican alternative. While the number of moderate Publicans is small, they are enough to be pivotal. If they were to go to Bush and demand a change, Bush ... one hopes .. could be forced to bring in some expertise ... like err someone with real foreign policy experience other than Dr. Rice, the mediocre Sovietologist?
Isn't this sort of like giving peace a real chance?