Kagan on Iraq

The National Review has an article by Fred Kagan, one of the architects of the Surge and main cheerleaders of the war in Iraq.

He tells us:

We will consider below just how much of a diversion of resources away from more desirable domestic priorities the Iraq war actually is, but the more important point is simply this: Unless the advocates of defeat can show, as they have not yet done, that the consequences of losing are very likely to be small not simply the day after the last American leaves Iraq, but over the next five, ten, and 50 years, then what they are really selling is short-term relief in exchange for long-term pain.

Basically, his entire essay is framed as follows:
victory = doing what I want
defeat = doing something other than what I want

If there’s any other definition of victory and defeat in this rather lengthy piece, I haven’t seen it.

But even with this most favorable framing, he still has to ask for some extra help. At no point does he suggest that proponents of his happy adventure should show what the consequences would be of sticking around 50 years out, or even that sticking around would ensure what he terms as victory.

Back in the 1950s, some proto-Kagans came up with a plan to achieve a certain kind of victory in Iran. They installed a vicious, kleptocratic, and inept leader. Unfortunately, that meant that those who opposed tyranny also opposed those who kept that vicious, kleptocratic, and inept leader’s boot on their necks. There is a direct line between installing the Shah and the rule of the Ayatollahs today.

Given Kagan’s track record in getting things wrong in Iraq, the question is – would even his best case scenario, complete with ponies and unicorns, cause us major problems in the long run?