As much as the improved security in Iraq, the fact that Stuart Bowen is no longer tearing out any new ones is a sign of the improvements we’ve made with regard to warzone reconstruction operations. What this all means in the medium- to longrun, I find myself wavering on. It’s still possible that the country might degress into a Sunni-Shiite-Kurd free for all once we’re gone. (News that the Kurds have been arming themselves independently of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense somehow doesn’t come as such a shock.) And if it does, the past two years will have functioned as a consolidation period whereby all the factions involved got a firm hold on their power base and their hands as close to the prize as they could while the American-enforced “fairness doctrine” was still in place.
But not only is what happens after we’re gone out of our control, it’salso in some very cynical ways irrelevant to the mission as it’s currently beenrecalibrated, which is basically to get out while some semblance ofpolitical cohesion holds.
Question: Given the argument about how strategically significant Iraqi stability is to U.S. interests, do we go back in in the event of a civil war breaking out following our departure?