I've noted elsewhere the irony that just now the U.S., in the form of Ambassador Christopher Hill, has been manically trying to micromanage the parliamentary process ion Iraq to produce the agreement just reached on an election law to govern the elections scheduled for January -- to some extent trying to create or coax along a process that should lead to scheduled troop withdrawals and the eventual abandonment not just of micromanaging but managing Iraq at all. Even now, Hill is less like an overlord and more like a lobbyist; U.S. influence is still pervasive but not necessarily decisive. That's not a bad situation as the Register opined; assuming there's not massive violence during the period surrounding the election (not necessarily an entirely safe assumption) we should have "only" about 50,000 troops in Iraq by next August or so, and virtually none a year after that. I hope it works out that way.
I suspect most Americans see the Iraq war as a disaster from which we were lucky to escape without more lasting damage -- though there are still war enthusiasts out there convinced we acted wisely and are succeeding. It is difficult to understand why so much of the political class works so hard to avoid seeing that further escalation in Afghanistan is likely to be even less satisfactory than Iraq has been. It smells of an empire in decline with a sadly out-of-touch aristocracy in charge. It's just sad so many decent Americans in the military will have to be sacrificed to the delusions of old men.