I've aired this viewpoint before - and it is, at least, something practical that might be done, while we are stymied from effective action or a competent executive for the next two years. From a reader:

There is another alternative: redeploy in Kurdistan, as Galbraith suggests. The US troops are wanted there, you can access the large oil fields of Kirkuk, and you're still close enough with the troops to act as a genuine deterrent to both a meddling Iran or the Sunni cesspool in Baghdad.  It will be like enforcement of the no-fly zone, except with more muscle because they'll still be troops on the ground, who will not be preoccupied with minding their backs in the midst of a civil war; things are relatively calm in Kurdistan. The peshmerga can still retain the job of internally policing Kurdistan, whilst the US can keep an eye on what's going on in the rest of the region. It would be easy enough to deploy troops quickly in the event that Iran blockaded the Straits of Hormuz, or the Islamists seized the Saudi oil fields, or Israel was attacked by Iran and/or Syria (and their Hezbollah minions). This strikes me as the most elegant solution to a very messy problem right now.

Better than "whack-a-mole" because Rumsfeld won't allow us to win.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.