Publius on the counterproductivity of staying in Iraq:
Here, the overriding risk is all-out civil war – whether inter-or-intra ethnic group – or regional war, or both. Our presence mitigates these risks [to the government] – at least in the short term. Thus, Maliki can take risky actions like raiding Basra or openly turning the army into a wing of Badr, knowing that he and his allies won’t be exposed to the full risk of those actions (civil war) because of the American presence. Similarly, other countries (like Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia) feel less urgency to engage diplomatically (which is itself a “risky” omission) because of the American presence.
Question – if we are basically acting like a wing of Maliki’s Badr brigades, and the Badr brigades are so closely tied with Iran that its fighters draw pensions from the IRGC, can we get Iran to pitch in for the mental health care of our troops? After all of the blood that America has shed on Iran’s behalf it seems like the least they could do.