Eli Lake notes a big increase in military purchasing of items that would require serious US training and assistance. He also notes that much of it would not be delivered until 2012. Moreover, the usual defense industries look set to make serious money off it all. And so invasions become like government programs. They never end, they develop domestic constituencies, and they keep extending American reach throughout the world, even as the country teeters into economic and fiscal collapse.

Tom Ricks is also convinced that we cannot get out of Iraq in any meaningful way. That remains my fear about the decision in 2007. Maybe the surge did work as a tactical means to calm the place (as I didn't predict). But maybe 2007 was also the last real chance to get out (as I suspected). Once Bush doubled down again, he was making it impossible for the US not to be in Iraq for ... a hundred years, as McCain once dreamed of.