From the viewpoint of U.S. foreign policy, a speedy withdrawal from Iraq might indeed be the wisest course, as I've already suggested. But for the Iraqis -- or rather, the various peoples who are still called Iraqis -- the benefits are more debatable. A civil war that rages around and through empty American military bases isn't likely to be any less savage because those bases are empty.Billmon suggests that it's morally reprehensible to have made such a huge mess and then leave, and I guess he's right. But, when you have repeatedly shown that you have no ability (or even interest?) in fixing the mess, and everything you do just makes it worse, it is even more reprehensible to stay. We were wrong to invade Iraq, and every day we stay makes us more wrong.
In the end, it may not make that much difference whether U.S. troops stay or go. The various factions don't seem to be having much trouble slaughtering each other even when the bases are manned. Withdrawal might only speed up the carnage a little -- while giving the American public an even greater excuse to ignore it.