Today there were bombings all over the troubled nation. In a dozen cities using a combination of parked car bombs, roadside bombs and a suicide bombers driving vehicles. It seems there are no secure areas in the whole country. The scope of the violence is only increasing in spite of the Iraqi and US forces. Even within the so-called Green Zone, of Bagdad suicide bombers are able to move about, coordinate their people and kill when they want.
As the American effort winds down the question looms larger than ever; Can Iraq govern itself? It is like the religious groups are just waiting to begin their civil war. Only this time Iraq will not have a strong Saddam Hussein directing an army to control the insurgents. What will happen to all the building and infrastructure implemented by the US? It looks to many as if Iran will play a large role in cooperation with Syria to allow control of this huge and valuable part of the Middle East. Iraq has a huge portion of the known oil reserves.
In this 'George Bush War' as some call it, the question also haunts the West whether leaving Saddam alone and dealing with him would have been the realistic and sane answer. Indeed, the best strategy for peace. Alas, it seems GW Bush was intent on vengeance over sanity.
In Afghanistan, a similar scenario awaits. The Taliban are stronger than ever. Al Qaeda operates freely. The control of the country centers in only a small part of Kabul. Everywhere else is intensely dangerous. The poppy crop is burgeoning and opium production is higher then ever before, some even suspect the CIA of encouraging it. While they use armed spy drones near Pakistan to try to limit the expansion of the insurgents.
President Hamid Karzai, the inserted ruler, has little control, is often refered to as the Mayor of Kabul because his influence is so limited, and is also suspected of actually working against the US. But he fled the country once before and is totally likely to follow the US troops out whenever that happens again. Leaving what?
Of course Afghanistan will descend quickly into tribal conflict with warlords, drug cartels, Taliban and al Qaeda all tearing it apart once more. The country will go back 200 years overnight.
And what will be the legacy of these costly adventures in muslim countries? Perhaps only a newly inflamed hatred of the West, and especially the United States.
It seems that the correct and safe strategy in Afghanistan would be to let them sort it out themselves, no matter how hard it will be to watch from afar, and then deal with the winner, who no doubt will be a strong brutal leader, and who has democracy furthest from his intentions.
In Iraq, the new hope to deflect the efforts of Syria and Iran would seem to be a new Sunni leader, like Saddam, someone who can keep the Shiites at bay and Iraq's two volatile neighbors inside their own borders.
It remains to be seen if the shadowy cadre of insiders in the US government will allow anyone but the Saudis to control the oil flow into the US and anyone but their choice of who supplies the bulk of heroin into America. And it is all above and beyond the input of a US President, that control is already gone.
However it works out, the sad conclusion drawn by many is that these American adventure wars which cost so much in brave young lives may have been all in vain.
It IS time to leave.