Watch carefully what happens when the Brits pull out of Basra. If the drawback to Kuwait turns into a bloody rout, as former Petraeus advisor Stephen Biddle seems to think it will, the costs could be catastrophic. Retreating under fire is by far one of the most difficult maneuvers in war.
Now bear in mind that our U.S. trained-and equipped allies in Iraq shamelessly support the same insurgents who attack us daily. Then recall that the few stability metrics not trending in reverse call for ten years of occupation or more, yet readiness issues will push us out on a time scale closer to a year or less. Surprisingly, it turns out that people who create their own reality cann’t create their own troops. Assuming that things don’t get measurably worse the situation when we leave will look almost exactly like the security situation today.
Maybe Biddle has a point, maybe he’s just gaming expectations or trying to dissuade the Brits from leaving. One way or the other the British example will handily preview what we have to look forward to when our turn soon comes.