It should be kept in mind that the US's long-term goal is a stable Iraq. The US would also prefer a democratic Iraq, but democracy is a relative term.Any temporary loss of prestige suffered due to a withdrawal of forces will be eliminated in the long run, should the US accomplish its goals. People tend to have short memories. If, twenty years down the road, Iraq is stable, free and democratic, most people will only remember that the US conquered Iraq and made it democratic. The bumps along the road will be largely forgotten, just as the problems in post-war Germany have been largely forgotten (e.g. cigarettes were used as a currency).If accomplishing our long term goals means making short term concessions, we should be willing to do so. The problem is that there is no guarantee Cole's suggestions WILL accomplish our long-term goals, and (should he be proved wrong) reversing the policies he suggests would be difficult.
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