There is real hope for major progress on most of these matters in the coming two years. If this does not happen, or if backsliding occurs on other key political and strategic issues where progress has been made recently, the case for a continued American presence in Iraq will weaken. Either way, we can aspire to major additional reductions in U.S. force levels come 2010. But alas, probably not before.
What a pathetic piece of euphemism and shoddy analysis. “Backsliding” on “key political and strategic issues” just means “the goals again prove themselves unachievable.” But even if this happens — as this happens, in fact — don’t count on such minutiae as the collapse of the war’s rationale to lead O’Hanlon to say the jig is up! No, the “case” for occupying Iraq forever will merely “weaken.” It will collapse! Never!! Not as long as Mike O’Hanlon has his laptop and his in with Fred Hiatt!!!!
For a closer reading of O’Hanlon, check out Ilan Goldenberg at Democracy Arsenal.