A reader notes:

Americans are an impatient people. Everything seems to be driven by short term goals. So if I were fighting the Americans in Iraq and the surge meant really high losses, I would just fade into the woodwork for a few months.  The whole world knows that come next March the US has to start pulling out of Iraq. So instead of fighting and dying, why not just sit back and let the Americans arm you and train you. There will be plenty of time to kill each other after America reduces it forces back to pre surge levels.

I have to say I don't know. I'm not sure anyone can know what will happen. One thing I've learned is that Iraq is what it is. And our ability to change it is as illusory as all the other imperial attempts to change it. I tend to agree with Gertrude Bell who tried a similar quixotic venture in 1916:

We rushed into the business with our usual disregard for a comprehensive political scheme. We treated Mesop[otamia] as if it were an isolated unit, instead of which it is part of Arabia... When people talk of our muddling through it throws me into a passion. Muddle through! why yes, so we dowading through blood and tears that need never have been shed.

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