Update Never mind.
John Kenneth Galbraith once said that politics is the art of choosing the unpalatable over the catastrophic.
I know opposition to the Bush/McCain surge is an article of faith among all decent people, but according to a BBC report I just heard al-Maliki’s government has agreed to an all-out attack on the militias, including Moqtada’s Mahdi Army. Is it really obvious that the civil war couldn’t be cooled off if the Iraqi government were purged of its worst Shi’a elements, and the Shi’a militias that have been doing the ethnic cleansing got hammered? Especially since, as Juan Cole reports, Bush has finally decided to put in the A-team?
Maybe none of that good stuff will happen. Maybe, in fact, more American troops just means more targets. Maybe it would have worked two years ago, or even one year ago, but too late now.
But it really, really, really isn’t a good idea to leave Iraq in civil war and give the jihadists a chance to brag that, having driven the Russians out of Afghanistan, they’ve now driven the Americans out of Iraq. Not if there’s any reasonable chance of pulling out a bad result rather than a worse one.