A reader writes:

I should have read farther down when I fussed at you just a second ago in my ‘Reverse Flytrap’ email. You do have a plan! It's fabulous, well thought out and sure to succeed:

"It will have to get worse, much worse, before it can get better."

And, of course, after we flee, after everyone who wanted a decent civil society is killed and after the Jihadists seize power and ally with Iran, things will be just great. If you think Bush has a lot to answer for and he surely does - just imagine the blood on the hands of those who actually believe that leaving is a policy that offers anything other than a much larger disaster. 

Of course, I can see it now. It isn't the cut-and-runners who will be to blame for the disaster they saw coming and decided nonetheless to proceed. It will be Bush, all Bush and nothing but Bush. Bush will be responsible for the bloodbath and the resurgent Jihadists and every other thing that might happen when we declare defeat and go home. Just as Bush is surely guilty of ineptly carrying out a valid war, the cut-and-runners are guilty of cowardice, lack of perseverance and having no real idea what they should do other than flee. Fleeing is not an idea; it is the product of intellectual and moral panic.

One point: "after the Jihadists seize power and ally with Iran"? You really think that is al Qaeda's goal? Or the Sunni insurgents? My sense is that a withdrawal would mean a fight by Sunni Jihadists against Shiite Jihadists. The war between fundamentalisms would be bloody, but it would also change the narrative. It would reveal that the West is not the fundamental problem in the Islamic world. Islamism is. The only people who can fight this war are Muslims. And the only people who can win it are Muslims. We may be unable to prevent some collateral damage from the conflict. But my guess is that we are maximizing collateral damage to U.S. lives and failing to move the ball forward by occupying Iraq for the indefinite future.