The history has already been written. Three years after the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the situation is still deteriorating. No matter how much happy talk and media management comes out of the White House spin room, it cannot paper over the continuing grisly debacle. The right wing religious nuts of America and the Middle East have come together to direct a combat of death squads and terrorist bombings, unemployment and desperation, a civil war in which the role of American troops is to serve as targets.
Bush flew into Iraq June 13 to announce a new emphasis on security in Baghdad. Five weeks later the White House announced another new emphasis on security in Baghdad. Shiite death squads reportedly operate out of offices in the new, democratic government.
US policy is focused on maintaining a foothold for Big Oil. Not a big rallying cry to the troops, so they don't mention it too much. The men and women in uniform get to make up their own rallying cries. Recognizing futility, many progressives call for withdrawal. After all, American forces seem to be making matters worse rather than better, and Iraqis will have to step up sooner or later. These suggestions become targets for the Rovian "cut and run" attack.
The US cannot leave with the police, armed forces and intelligence apparatus in the hands of one side of a civil war. The answer, not a good answer, but the only answer, is to segregate the parties -- the Shiites, Kurds and Sunnis. We can do it now, however messy it might be logistically, or we can let it happen after a bloodbath. Local communities need to control their own police, just as they need to become the locus of economic rebuilding. For heaven's sake, kick Halliburton, Bechtel and the others out and go to a Marshall Plan style program. Right now US dollars are going to US companies. Iraq and Iraqis are getting nothing but incompetence and worse.
And I do compromise with the devil on this one. That is, American troops ought to be redeployed to the bases within the country on the pretext of being close at hand should Iran invade or should a genocide break out. Making Iraq safe for democracy is a sham for the benefit of the boys in Mayberry. The men in the back rooms eat, drink and spit up oil and the strategic necessity of growing its supply from the Gulf. Get the GIs somewhere they can defend themselves.
Otherwise, a very loose federation of states, with provinces responsible for their own internal security, and security forces drawn from the communities in which they operate. Economic development coordination needs to be assigned to an independent authority, the UN or the Arab League, with legitimacy and credibility.
The Iraq invasion and occupation has failed. Continued failure is not going to give us any better options. Bush, of course, will never do this. I have no illusions. He is too busy denying the failure and drumming up distractions in the war on terror like the tragic Lebanon farce. But there is no alternative long term, and the sooner it happens, the better for all of us.