“The downside is that it relaxes pressure on Syria.”
Gordon at Harry's Place is less measured. It seems to me that we should be immensely grateful for what tactical successes we have gained in Iraq, for some Sunni rejection of Wahhabism, for Iran's apparently better behavior, for what seems to be some fatigue from sectarian warfare, and for the record 175,000 troops now there. But it's crazy not to realize that the deeper political question remains unresolved, that US forces have to decline in the near future, and that the best case scenario if we do not simply leave soon is an occupation with around 100,000 troops for a decade or more. We need to be open-minded in the face of empirical change; but just as clear about what we still do not know. The current calm could be the end of the beginning of the occupation; or the eye of a storm about to rage again. Mission Accomplished banners - however emotionally satisfying for some - are as dumb now as they were four years ago.
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