Iraq hase been a powder keg on a short fuse for the last 2 1/2 years since the invasion euphimistically labelled as the liberation. Inspite of the seeming lack of progress in Iraq for a while the Bush adminsitration had things to cheer about , including the election in Iraq, the pro-democracy demonstartions in Lebanon, Sharon agreeing to withdraw from the West Bank, democracy flowering in Egypt etc. The administration could reason that the loss of american life, and Iraqi( who is counting really?) and the general destruction of Iraqi infrastructure was not in vain. For reasons best known to them, the adminsitration blustered their way into an expensive war. None of the explanations or justifications are offered any longer long since disproved.
Fast forwarding to the present, I think it would be safe to say that the shit has finally hit the fan with a Sunni-Shia civil war looming. Bush's first instinct would be to pull back troops to satisfy a restive public that no longer buys any of the justifications for the war. But if he does that , the last thing stopping a full scale civil war from breaking out would be gone.
There maybe many who will be sniggering at the United States plight. "U'r mess u clean it" seems to be the underlying theme. All those with such a view are not wrong by any standards.
But this sitiuation is way to dangerous to just walk away from it. Al Quaeda is a threat not just to the US but to the whole world. Just as the Soviet withdrawl in Afganistan, strenghtened the Islamists and made them set their eyes on bigger things, Victory for them in Iraq will unleash another attempt to at the very least terrorise and disrupt life in countries that do not subscribe to their world view. Just as Afganistan led to the disintegration of the 'evil' Soviet empire, Iraq will have a lasting affect on the role the US plays in todays world. Are we really ready for this tectonic shift in the world's geo-politics? This situation reminds me of a cartoon i used to watch as a kid. Insoector Gadget was the buffon, who was always bailed out of trouble by his niece Penny's pet dog brain. The best part was he never knew it.
George Bush is our Inspector Gadget who has blundered his way into a position between a rock and a hard place. The rest of the world has to pay the part of brain for the greater good.