Asked if he saw any irony in Cheney coming to talk to Republicans about next steps in Iraq, [New York Rep. Peter King] said firmly, "No, because most of us think we did the right thing in Iraq."
"I know some in Washington would like us to start leaving Iraq now. To begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us we're ready would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region and for the United States. It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to Al Qaida. It'd mean that we'd be risking mass killings on a horrific scale. It'd mean we'd allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan. It'd mean we'd be increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous."
[A]rguments for invading Iraq were predicated on the idea that Hussein's state could be replaced by a strong democracy that would be an ally in the Middle East. Absolutely, as Iraq failed to turn into a dry heat version of Sweden, Bush would warn against withdrawing troops and giving the enemy a head's up on when to start partying. But in 2002 and 2003, the idea that America would have to commit forces to Iraq for a generation was so absurd that pollsters didn't really ask it. In 2007, Bush was admitting that America needed to stay in Iraq as long as terrorists threatened to build beachheads there.... If you start the clock then, though, yes -- the Obama administration failed to keep a residual force in Iraq. The military wanted 24,000 troops, the administration settled on 10,000, and even that number failed to survive status of forces negotiations. Had they stayed, they'd have found a 2012 Iraq that was a bit more dangerous than 2012 South Korea. But they would have been there. It's just that the Bush administration that sold the Iraq War to voters 11 years ago did not suggest that America was committing to a generational military presence and pitched land battles against new terror groups. Some of the people who argued against the war worried that they might happen. To ignore them, and to credit Bush with prophetic foresight, is to give him one hell of a mulligan.