ReasonOnline, a publication of the libertarian Cato Institute, offers three contrasting views of Iraq from three informed figures who are from the Middle East--all with ties to Cato, by the way--on the third anniversary of the President's widely (and deliberately?) misunderstood declaration of "mission accomplished. The contrasts are interesting, but the relative absence of second guessing is refreshing.
We particularly recommend the first entry, by one Michael Young, a Lebanese. Here's a quotation, which reinforces our refrain that to win the war, the only thing that the United States needs that it doesn't currently have is the will to endure:
What's next for Iraq? I feel no confidence making predictions from Beirut. Iraqi society has shown more resilience than it has been given credit for, and it is keen to avoid the wasteland of full-scale civil war. Inter-sectarian killings will continue, which may make it seem like civil war has already started. But war is more than killing; it requires a vast leviathan that can sustain the carnage, fund it, and mobilize society while keeping the unhappy in line. Such machinery is not fully in place in Iraq, which is, provisionally, good news. As for the U.S., the question is no longer whether it must leave Iraq, but whether the administration has the will to stay and defend its gains there. As talk of civil war escalates, would Americans agree to send more troops to avert disaster? No. Psychologically, no matter how many soldiers remain in Iraq, many in the U.S. have already headed for the exits.
This doesn't bode well for open societies in the Middle East.
*It has become self-evidently true to the MSM that more American soldiers who don't speak Arabic and who know nothing of Islam or Middle Eastern culture would have been able to pacify the country after the invasion. The only problem with that notion is the "self-evidently true" part.