And yet. In the space of the past year in Iraq we have satisfied and chronologically surpassed all our benchmarks, arrived at the point at which winning would set in, and discovered that instead of winning virtually everything has gone backwards. […] No, for good or ill the ultimatum of picking up stakes creates actual urgency, namely an urgent reclamation of initiative on the part of the USA and an urgent dumping of initiative upon the Iraqis left holding the bag. If this is a wretched idea it’s because — and only because — Iraq might become so hopelessly anarchic that the Middle East will implode, sucking every people but the Persians into a vast hellbroth. […] The inability of Iraq to form a national army capable of even the pretense of monopolized force is their fault, not ours […].
Kasparov, Dec. 2 2006:
So what then, to do? “Mission accomplished” jokes aside, the original goals in Iraq–deposing Saddam Hussein and holding elections–have been achieved. Nation-building was never on the agenda, and it should not be added now. All the allied troops in the world aren’t going to stop the Iraqi people from continuing their civil war if this is their choice. As long as Muslim leaders in Iraq and elsewhere are unwilling to confront their own radical elements, outsiders will be spectators in the line of fire.
As for stability, if allied troops leave Iraq: What stability? I won’t say things can’t get worse–if we’ve learned anything, it’s that things in the Middle East can always get worse; but at least the current deadly dynamic would be changed. And with change there is always hope for improvement. Without change, we are expecting a different result from the same behavior, something once defined as insanity.
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