James F. Elliott presents an an accurate and perspicacious analysis of the complexities regarding our withdrawal from Iraq.
I suspect, though, that his efforts are akin to applying modern management-consulting business analysis to the Mafia: The analysis will be applicable and extremely valuable in principle, but it ignores the fundamental nature of the organization. I have no confidence at all that the intrinsically ethical and humanistic values underlying James' analysis bear any relationship whatsoever to the motivations of either our government nor to the ultra-wealthy elite who installed them.
I don't want to put down James' efforts: I think work such as James' is very valuable if for no other reason than to show that the reality and complexity of the situation is apprehensible to a well-informed citizen outside the State Department and government bureaucracy. I think it's virtually certain that exactly this sort of analysis has been presented by the State Department to the President as well as prominent Congressional leaders of both parties, and has been soundly ignored by all.
I do have to quibble with one aspect of James' analysis, though.
I don't know doodly-squat about the details of foreign policy execution. It's simply not feasible for me to express my political will as a citizen in terms of the implementation details of foreign policy. The best I can do as a citizen is to couch my political will in terms of the ethical basis for my position and count on the handsomely-paid professionals in the government to both work out the implementation details and my elected representatives to actively sell me the implementation as the best way to implement and fulfill the ethical basis on which I vote and advocate.
In other words, I don't think it's at all objectionable for me to say, "Imperialism is bad, the Iraq war is an instance of imperialism, therefore I want the war to end right now." My objection to the stinks-on-ice appropriation supplemental, for instance, is not that it employs nuanced and detailed methods and fails to provide instant gratification, but that it does not even appear to be responding to the ethical basis of my objections to the war.
When I go to the doctor, I want my cancer cured right away; it's the doctor's job to persuade me that a cure is going to require a lengthy course of chemotherapy. Fine, I'll allow myself to be persuaded. But if she goes on about how horrible my cancer is but refuses to treat it at all and hands me a couple of aspirin, I have legitimate cause for complaint, even though I don't know any more about medicine than I do about foreign policy.