This history suggests that the coalition's grand aspirations for Iraq will not succeed. However constructive its intentions to build democracy, the coalition cannot win the confidence of Muslim Iraq nor win acceptance as its overlord. Even spending $18 billion in one year on economic development does not improve matters.
I therefore counsel the occupying forces quickly to leave Iraqi cities and then, when feasible, to leave Iraq as a whole. They should seek out what I have been calling for since a year ago: a democratically minded Iraqi strongman, someone who will work with the coalition forces, provide decent government, and move eventually toward a more open political system.
This sounds slow, dull and unsatisfactory. But at least it will work -- in contrast to the ambitious but failing current project.
I wonder if Saddam Hussein is available? After all, it seems to work just fine with Hosni Mubarak. This is the same kind of anti-democracy, racist-imperialist condescension that Ralph Peters put on fine display last year. Admirers of both should take heed.
Frankly, I find Fareed Zakaria to be a more honest, principled, and relevant analyst:
It is conventional wisdom that the United States should stay engaged with Iraq for years. Of course it should, but for this to work Iraqis must welcome the help. In the face of escalating anti-Americanism, U.S. involvement in Iraq will be unsustainable ... Washington has a final window of opportunity to end the myriad errors that have marked its occupation and adopt a new strategy.
UPDATE: Tacitus doesn't disappoint me:
There's no moral separation between this and the insane calls for total disengagement and wholesale withdrawal on the left: both are moral abdications of a responsibility that our nation has assumed and must bear.