Tom Ricks replies:

What could be more imperialistic than invading a country pre-emptively on false premises and then leaving many years later in a selfish, callous and clumsy manner?

Staying forever, while your own country goes bankrupt. I guess it depends on whether we're talking about early-stage imperialism or late-stage neo-imperialism. But again, in some ways, I suspect this debate is immaterial. Whether Tom is reluctantly happy or I'm self-hatingly frustrated in the years ahead may make for some interesting debate, but it won't affect the outcome.

The US will not have fewer then 50,000 troops in Iraq under Obama. 

And, if, as I fear, the sectarian divides get worse rather than better after these elections, we may have to keep even more there, under Tom's rationale. There's certainly no prospect of an actually functioning post-sectarian government in the wings, even if seven years of occupation, a trillion dollars, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths, thousands of US and allied fatalities, and tens of thousands of servicemembers with brutal disabilities and PTSD have brought us a lively, if also corrupt, set of elections.

Cheerful, aren't I?

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