Contrary to what George W. Bush thinks, I do not believe that Iraq will become a haven for terrorists if we pull out of the country.
What will likely occur is that an all-out war between Sunnis and Shiites will break out. The war may spread beyond the borders of Iraq into other countries, potentially into Iran. Quite possibly, a major war that pulls in multiple countries might occur. If, in fact, we have a major Sunni versus Shiite beatdown, I wonder where allegiance will lie: will it be to religious conviction or national identity?
Will it be Iraq versus Iran or Shiites versus Sunnis?
If conventional wisdom holds true: if the Arabs of the Middle East ascribe to a religious philosophy that is 1000 years behind Western society, then one can only assume that a large-scale war between religions factions has been a foregone conclusion for quite some time.
After all, did not Europe find itself plunged into HUNDREDS of YEARS of wars fought primarily between Protestant countries/factions and Catholic countries/factions?
And there is nothing WE or any other country can do to prevent it.
Although war is certainly regrettable, I wonder if Sunnis and Shiites will be too concerned with killing each other off to have the inclination or even the ability to destroy the Great Satan. Up until this point, only a common enemy (namely, the Western world) has effectively unified vastly different people with vastly different convictions.
Our thoughtless actions have not effectively put an end to the world as we know it, contrary to what some would like to believe. Instead, they have only exacerbated the inevitable conflict between the two largest factions of Islam. I believe it behooves us greatly to get our troops the hell out of the way.
Other Arabic countries have a monetary interest in seeing stability in the region. Let this be their struggle. Let this be their war. Let this be their fire to put out.
Better yet, let this be Europe's problem.
I do not favor total American isolation, but I do favor a limited American involvement in this region. It is a tricky situation, no doubt.
Terrorists are young men (and a few women) who have nothing to lose. Their ranks are comprised of the poorest of the poor, by in large. And if the Western world, particularly the USA, immediately minimized our dependence on Middle East oil, then the economies of several countries would collapse. The collapse of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the UAE, and others most assuredly WOULD produce more terrorists.
Everyone's hands are tied. Anyone who tells you he or she knows for sure how things will turn out is lying through his/her teeth. How we should proceed in Iraq comes down to educated guess versus educated guess. These are uncharted territories and uncertain times.