One of the not-so-surprising revelations emerging from the current rush to the exits on Iraq is that the Bush Administration's overly rosy post-Saddam scenario has left us swamped in a country that, promising developments on the democratic front notwithstanding, has no unity, protecting a regime that cannot defend itself against an insurgency that will not go away until it regains power. We do not have the manpower to crush the insurgency, nor is the Iraqi army anywhere near ready to even take it down a notch.
This makes an American exit a highly tempting solution to a difficult problem. Unfortunately, pace Rep. Murtha, it's the wrong solution for the near term.
Our departure from Iraq right now will result in a victorious Sunni insurgency and a nation split in three. It will give the Iranian mullahs a chance to expand and solidify their own brand of reactionary militant Islamism--hardly a prospect we relish. And it will produce the very thing the Administration said would be the result of our not intervening in the first place: a country that can serve as a base for militant Islamists ready to attack the West.
If anything, for the next few months, we need more troops, not fewer. These troops would have as their main job getting the Iraqi army into fighting shape so that it can restore and maintain internal order after we depart. Only when the Iraqi security forces are up to the task of taking on the insurgents can we say it's safe for us to go.
Unfortunately, it may be too late for us to get those additional troops over there, so badly has the Bush Administration bungled the aftermath of its misguided second response to 9/11.