And what's so wrong about it? Kevin Sullivan asks and answers an obvious question:
The fact that these two countries - both, just a quarter of a century ago, having been engaged in arguably the nastiest, bloodiest war in modern Mideast history - have come this far would normally be the stuff of historical praise; something akin to Europe's rise from warring rivals to peaceful partners.
Of course it would. The trouble is: Americans can rightly ask if this is what they gave $1 trillion and thousands of lives and tens of thousands of casualties for?
Let's assume that the new eruption of Qaeda-style violence doesn't throw Iraq back into total sectarian warfare. Let's assume that, ok? The best we can hope for is some kind of ramshackle, chaotic and weak state, more sympathetic to Iran than Saddam would ever have been, and one incapable of truly controlling Jihadist elements, and in danger of losing some Sunni areas to Qaeda influence and control.
We still don't know if the Iraqracy can construct a multi-sectarian central government, the acid test of the surge. We have seen encouraging but still tentative signs of a post-sectarian mindset among Iraqi voters. But if or when the Iraqi government asks the US to leave, the unintended ripple effects of the worst decision in decades will continue.