Apparently Iraq wasn't war, it was Liberation
The neoconservative is a fascinating marvel of cognitive dissonance. It seemed as if, at the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, that the United States would keep its promise in the face of every obstacle. After the disbanding of the Iraqi military, the destruction of the majority of social and economic infrastructure, and the complete annihilation of the ruling Sunni class, things became more grim indeed.
This is a testament to the foolishness of an administration that had many chances to make things right in Iraq. Instead they chose to dismantle the fabric of law and order, put hundreds of thousands of angry, military-trained personnel out on the street, just to fight them for years while training an incompetent set of defense forces, and then leave.
Changing the narrative will not change history, as has been shown time and again. The chaos created by the US invasion of Iraq is almost directly responsible for the resurgence of ISIS militants (who, by the way, revere Saddam Hussein as a martyr).
The fantasy of the United States as a glorious liberator must be shown the light. By this I mean that US foreign policy must be seen for what it is: bastardized by the bureaucratic, political, and corporate systems which maintain a stranglehold on the dolling-out of “justice” worldwide.
Is America retreating? Yes. Should America not retreat? Hard to say. When one looks at the possible benefits of sending troops back to Iraq (beyond the token force Obama has sent to appease critics) it becomes obvious that there aren’t many good solutions.
From a geo-political perspective, it may, indeed, be helpful to let the situation develop (while preventing an outright Iraqi collapse). ISIS is not just an enemy of the US. They have recently seized border checkpoints with both Syria and Jordan and are not-so-friendly to either Bashar al-Assad of Jordan’s king Abdullah.
Allowing the Middle-eastern chess game to come into its adolescence may open up avenues of action that were previously unseen. The truth is that now uncertainty reigns in Iraq and the larger surrounding region. If the United States (and by extension the UN) is to take the helm and guide the region through this peril, it will be necessary to take the utmost caution in the decision to put US boots on the ground.