This isn't to say that Iraq has emerged as a peaceful, democratic paradise or an enthusiastic pro-American ally. Hardly. That was never in the cards, after the disastrous invasion and bungled occupation led to a horrific civil war and a near-failed state. Iraq today remains a violent, poorly institutionalized place with deep societal fissures and unresolved political tensions. But little has happened in the months since the U.S. withdrawal which differs significantly from what had been happening while the U.S. remained. The negative trends are the same ones which plagued Iraq despite the presence of U.S. troops in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. . . .People like John McCain and Mitt Romney need to learn that the US has very limited power to make other countries nice places to live. They have to succeed or fail at that on their own.
The real story of America's withdrawal from Iraq is how little impact it has really had on either Iraq or the region. There are even signs that the withdrawal has helped to nudge Iraqis onto the right path, though not as quickly or directly as I might have hoped. This month's death toll was the lowest on record since the 2003 invasion, while Iraqi oil exports are at their highest level since 1980. . . . It isn't pretty, and probably won't be any time soon, but there's absolutely no reason to believe that it would look any better with American troops still encamped in the country. Thus far, Obama's risky but smart gamble to end the U.S. military presence in Iraq is paying off.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Since We Left Iraq
According to Mark Lynch, the departure of US troops from Iraq has made no difference in how things are going there: