OK, I'm with you 100%, Erik, up to a point.
Let’s say we pull out, leave them a wad of dough – maybe that dough they found stashed over there, the truckloads of $100 bills. That should cover it, probably. If not, we can print more. Where does that leave the average citizens of Iraq?
It leaves them at the mercy of a schismatic and volatile bunch of Imams and warlords. What’s going to become of the women, who under Hussein could at least go to the market without the required uniform. And the men? Required to wear beards on pain of death? How long before the new powers start trucking folks off to the nearest soccer stadium for a little moral justice in the back of the head? I’ll tell you who gets popped first: all the collaborators currently trying to form a government, and the cops, the teachers, the doctors, the bloggers. They don’t stand a chance.
We never should have invaded and occupied Iraq. Saddam Hussein is/was a fiend and nobody misses his arrogant, sadistic ass. But he served one purpose, in making the country safe for secularism. And the in face of fundamentalism run amok, that’s important. Democracy is great, I like it when it’s not running afoul of a submissive judiciary and a timid, disaffected legislature. But democracy is a process, not a product. The acorn we ideally may plant in Iraq today won’t yield shade next week.
So maybe Iraq is a country that can only be run by a dictator; or very regrettably, the US Army.