Instead, by our abdication and premature withdrawal, we have achieved the worst possible outcome: an all-out civil war drawn categorically along religious sectarian lines. The Iraqi Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who has maintained a restrained posture for ten years, is now rallying the population (young men especially) to defend Baghdad and the current regime–not in terms of patriotic nationalism, but motivated by religious holy jihad against the rival sect. As Charles Krauthammer put it, these are “two devils, different stripes.” And the biggest winners are the Shiite Ayatollahs of Iran.
In the Fall of 2008, with the domestic economy melting down with the housing market crash and the TARP bailouts for the ‘too-big-to-fail’ banks, a majority of Americans, including a plurality of Republicans, were eager to get beyond George W. Bush and their weariness of his Iraq misadventure. That scorn may soon turn to nostalgia as the American people realize how much has been lost in the squandering of the real gains and opportunities afforded us at the height of our success in Iraq in that year.
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Argue if you want to that we never should have gone into Iraq in the first place. But what mission was accomplished by our pulling out?
Photo credit: The US Army (Flickr)
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