I've been wanting to post about this for some time, and hadn't found the time to do the matter justice. Now today I've run across this article in the Guardian laying out much of what I wanted to say.
The piece is a lot shorter than I would prefer, and doesn't much get into specifics. But the author (an Iraqi exile) describes a viewpoint that is basically absent in the mainstream US discourse - that a US pullout from Iraq would not be likely to precipitate a major Iraqi civil war.
One thing that people are going to be shocked... SHOCKED by in twenty years when official documents start to become declassified with regard to the Iraq invasion is the degree to which bombings of civilians and civilian infrastucture were carried out by or with the cooperation of US forces in Iraq.
It's the sort of thing that's simply unimaginable to most people now, but if we look at the history of war we can easily see that if at least some small percentage of the violence against civilians in Iraq were not being perpetrated by the occupying army, it would be a major historical aberration. In Iraq, where of course everyone is insane and stupid, the majority view is that the bulk of the anti-Iraqi violence is perpetrated by the occupiers.
But (again if history is any guide) we won't be able to face this, except in dissident literature, for at least a generation.