Empire For Ever, Ctd

Peter Beinart asks whether this will be Iraq's last national election:

My guess is that [Tom] Ricks’ view [that withdrawal from Iraq should be slowed] will prevail. The military has invested epic quantities of money and blood in Iraq, and U.S. commanders don’t want it to be in vain.

Plus, an Iraqi civil war that sucked in its neighborsas civil wars often dowould be horrendous. Although the Democratic base wants out of Iraq, the lesson of Afghanistan is that the military’s view matters more. “When push comes to shove,” notes Biddle, the Obama administration will “vote for not losing a war.”

It all sounds very sensible, until you remember that the United States is nearly bankrupt. Defense spending, which has grown 9 percent per year over the last decade, now comprises well over 50 percent of U.S. discretionary spending. Unless some president reins that in, there’s no real chance of getting U.S. debt under control...