What The Hell Just Happened In Iraq? VII

Joe Klein opines:

One bit of good news is indisputable, though: Iraq seems to be moving along a promising path now. I still believe that the war was a foolish venture, creating far more problems than it solved (including an exacerbation of the troubles in Afghanistan, as the Bush Administration shamefully neglected that war)--and causing untold violence, casualties and heartache in the process. But there is a strong possibility now that we have seen our way through the worst of this situation and that Iraq may have a more peaceful, less tyrannical future. It also should mean that we can bring home our troops more quickly--maybe even in the next 16 months.

The key thing is to leave some of our past disagreements behind.

In Iraq, there is a small potential for win-win - a flawed and unstable democracy in the shadow of Iran is not the worst outcome of this adventure. It neither vindicates neocon fantasy nor makes the massive errors and costs of the war worth it. But that we are not facing total disaster is a real achievement. From the perspective of now - and this may change in the rear-view mirror of history - the surge was a security success which now can claim some political progress as well. I was therefore wrong about it at the time, believing it was insufficient to the task and that the divides were too deep to be patched over. I don't apologize for this assessment, the way I did about the war in the first place, because it was an honest attempt to understand some grim options. But that doesn't take away from the fact that President Bush was right - and that the US military did something quite remarkable.

Of course, if all this is not a chimera, then departure is equally the right thing to do. As soon as we can. For that, General Petraeus, many thanks.