Recently I've been thinking about the situation in Iraq, and struggling. I hate this war as much as the next person; I was against it from the beginning. It has weakened us domestically and internationally, and it has strengthened our enemies. I've wanted us to get out of there for a long time now... but I'm no longer as confident of that option anymore. Would leaving truly be the end of our involvement, or might we end up with a new problem 5 or 20 years down the road which will cost much more to tackle than sticking it out now? Will Iraq, now Shiite-majority, align with Iran after a bloody civil war? But if we stay instead, is there really a significantly decreased chance of that outcome, with much more American--and Iraqi--blood having been spilled in the process?
Regardless of how odious the start of the war was, we need to look at the problem of Iraq detached from those emotions, as a stand-alone problem. If we do not do this, we risk over-correcting and causing a greater problem than we already have, in a vain attempt to turn back the clock and pretend the invasion never happened. If we do pull out, we must do so only after careful, sober contemplation of the possible outcomes.
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