William F. Buckley is a smart guy

Buckley was the first person I ever read on politics.  Now he is writing:

A geographical division of Iraq is inevitable.  The major players are obvious.  It isn’t plain how America, as an outside party, could play an effective role, let alone one that was decisive, in that national redefinition.

I take it he means other than for the Kurds, whom we can continue to protect.  Jane Galt offers her mea culpa on Iraq, and questions who was really the smarty-pants.  I wrote in her comments:

While I too was "tricked" about WMDs, that was not my key mistake.  My key mistake was to think that if we could lead a regime change in a country as messed-up as Haiti without touching off a civil war, that we could do the same in Iraq.  These power transitions seemed to have worked OK numerous times in the past (though Haiti hasn’t gotten better it would have gotten worse), but of course it didn’t go very well this time.

Dan Drezner surveys his own mistakes.  Matt Yglesias gives perhaps the best ongoing coverage of the U.S. political situation.

Regardless of what Victor Davis Hanson tells us we should do, it seems obvious what we will do, namely a near-complete pull-out with a buffer reserved for the Kurds and some bases and perhaps the selective use of air power.  The next question is this: if the new Iraq really is a breeding ground for terrorists who will strike abroad, as many anti-war critics have suggested, under what conditions would we later re-up our military involvement, and for how long?  I don’t have a good answer, and perhaps I "don’t deserve to be listened to" on this, but I would like to hear what the superior predictors have to say.


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