I've linked him before as someone who thinks differently on Iraq from me, but who may very well be more right than I am. Further more, the more Iraq mires, the more I think Dan might be right.
So let me just copy one of his recent comments in full:
al Qaeda's attack on 9/11 was reaonable given aQ's goal of a restored, reformed Islam. The bulk of the Arab Sunni states, from which al Qaeda generated recruits, had corrupt and unpopular governments. However, most all had governments either directly or indirectly supported by the United States. The rest thrived off the enmity of the US. Getting America out of the picture was vital.
If it would have helped create a Qaedist state in the middle east, the fall of Afghanistan would have been worth it.
The American invasion of Iraq likewise could have led to good things. Either an anarchic Iraq or an Iraq with a corrupt government of fixerswould be acceptable in the short term. Iraq had to be set up for a Qaedist Revolution once America suspeded activities in the broader Middle East.
Fortunately, the breathtaking foolishness of two men, George W. Bush and Abu Musab Zarqawi, made this impossible. George Bush's incompetent attempts to buy off a hostile and noxious Sunni Arab minority are well known, and we can thank God the final defeat of the Bush plan is approaching. For his part, Zarqawi insanely focused on creating a sectarian fight in Iraq instead of uniting Iraqi factions against the United States. If either of them had performed his role much better, a tasteless despotism could have emerged that would have discouraged American actions in the region.
But now we have an Iraq which is every closer in Iran's orbit. Instead of a distant, and thus persuadable, American foe Qaeda now faces a very near, and thus unpersuadable, Iranian enemy. One day, America will leave Iraq because America leaves all the countries she conquers. Iran never will. Iran crouched near the Mesopotamian three thousand years ago. And she will crouch there still three thousand years from now. Worse for our enemy, Shia Arabs are active collaborators in Iraq and a fifth column in Saudi Arabia.
The Sunni hegemony of the Arab world, which began with the fall of the Fatimids in 1117, ended with L. Paul Bremer's dismissal of the Iraqi Army in 2003. In the same way that German hegemony over eastern europe which began in 1226, with the Teutonic Knights' occupation of Culmerland, was ended in 1945 by the Red Army.
This is a fitting revenge for 9/11/2002, as that was a fitting revenge for 6/22/1941.
History has turned.
Now is the time for the victory, the peace, the embracing of constructive forces (sharia, etc), and the marketization with which will eventually come globalization. The real peace.
If Dan's right, then my post from yesterday, addressing what our GIs most need, should have said 'to be pulled out'.