The talking heads use various metaphors: "It's going to be a hard road ahead."
"We're only entering the fourth quarter."
Well, we're giving the Iraqis back their country, for better or worse. Mostly worse. We've already been over how misbegotten this whole foray was, how it was the wrong war for the wrong reasons, all the blood and treasure lost in the sand.
The hard line rear guard Bush administration apologists claim that, regardless of all the bloodshed, the Iraqi people are better off now than they were under Saddam.
I wouldn't know, since I'm not there on the ground. I have a feeling they don't either. As we stand back and observe the inevitable sectarian score-settling, favoritism, corruption, and the other symptoms of a failing state as the Iraqis--who never thought of themselves as a "people," but a collection of tribes--jockey for power, we'll probably see a strong man emerge.
A populace grown weary of undending violence will turn to him for stability, and gladly trade in whatever trappings of "democracy" we bequeathed upon them at the point of the gun.
The new strong man, after all is said and done, will remind us a lot of Saddam Hussein. Maybe he won't look as ridiculous in a fedora. He'll probably deal with us on oil, because he'll need the money...which was what the whole thing was about in the first place.