The Golden Mosque exists in a symbolic universe of which the US is virtually no part, its destruction has grievous consequences that will resonate far beyond any time threshold for a US withdrawal. Nothing about this atrocity can be interpreted as a response to foreign occupation, and it is preposterous to suppose that those who committed it would somehow lose the motivation to do so had the US already withdrawn.What to do? Pick sides? Ramp up our presence until Iraq is our new Puerto Rico?
Here is where cherished myths of the "right" may be seen fallen amid the rubble of the Golden Mosque. First of these is the notion that "Operation Iraqi Freedom" was ever a vital or effective response to 9/11. If one asked US security analysts in 2002 what precautions were being taken to guard against Al Qaeda attacks upon Shi'ite holy sites one would have been greeted with a look of total incomprehesion. By taking upon itself the custodianship of Iraqi society the US and its allies have effectively increased their scope of liabilities without any corresponding increase in assets. The invasion has unleashed forces within Iraq and the greater Middle East that the US does not fully understand and is ill-prepared to control.
My only quibble with the Madman of Chu is that myths are not distributed equally: the left's criticism of the right's "plan" for Iraq was correct, whereas the Right's nattering about leftist do-nothingism foreclosed any more imaginative or effective planning or problem-solving.