Just a thought after reading the Thomas Sowell column. Sowell basically says that rebuilding Iraq from scratch is a fool's errand - the classic conservative case against nation-building - but that we still have to spend hundreds of billions of dollars in the next decade doing it in Iraq because, well, because ... Over to Sowell:

This is not a plea for withdrawal. Whatever the situation when we went in, international terrorists have chosen to make this the place for a showdown battle. We can win or lose that battle but we cannot unilaterally end the war. It is the terrorists' war, regardless of where it is fought.

This is a meme often deployed by the Bush-Cheney cabal: 'This is the ground on which the terrorists have chosen to fight, therefore we have no choice.' Note a few things. If this is truly their argument, it seems to me to behoove Bush, Cheney or Sowell to concede that the president actually goaded international terrorists to come to Iraq in the first place - "Bring them on!" This precedent means that any president can start a war, and use the chaos of disorder that such a war creates as an indefinite argument for prolonging it. It's a war that keeps on giving. Failure means it's even more necessary to keep failing. The dollar auction continues.

Second, why exactly is this "the terrorists' war"? Why is our strategy necessarily determined by battlegrounds and terrain of their choosing and not ours? Has Sowell ever pondered the idea that some terrorists might actually be smart enough to choose terrain where they are strongest and we are weakest? Has it occurred to him that fighting these people among civilian populations whose languages we do not speak, whose cultures we do not understand, and whose countries we have invaded and destroyed may not be the ideal theater to fight in?