The latest column from the country's most syndicated cut-and-runner:
After almost 6 1/2 years, and 4,327 American dead and 31,483 wounded, with a war spiraling downward in Afghanistan, it would be indefensible for the U.S. military—overextended and in need of materiel repair and mental recuperation—to loiter in Iraq to improve the instincts of corrupt elites. If there is a worse use of the U.S. military than "nation-building," it is adult supervision and behavior modification of other peoples' politicians. […]
The [U.S.] advisers are to leave by the end of 2011, by which time the final two years of the U.S. military presence will have achieved . . . what? […]
[I]f democracy is still just a glimmer that will be extinguished by the withdrawal of a protective U.S. presence, its extinction can perhaps be delayed for two more years but cannot be prevented. […]
Two more years of U.S. military presence cannot control whether that is in Iraq's future. Some people believe the war in Iraq was not only "won," but vindicated by the success of the 2007 U.S. troop surge. Yet as Iraqi violence is resurgent, the logic of triumphalism leads here:
If, in spite of contrary evidence, the U.S. surge permanently dampened sectarian violence, all U.S. forces can come home sooner than the end of 2011. If, however, the surge did not so succeed, U.S. forces must come home sooner.
Link via Jason Pye's Twitter feed.