Iraq, as we know it was cobbled together by the victors of the first world war as they divided the spoils of the Ottoman empire. Kurds, shi'ites and sunnis were thrown together under one mandate run by the brits who had a hell of a time keeping the peace from 1919 until they gave the mess up to a king from Saudi Arabia and his henchmen. Since then, Iraq has been ruled by a series of hashemite kings until the Iraqi army held a successful coup in 1958..and the ba'athists overthrew them in 1968.... and throughout it all, the sunnis and the shi'ites have hated one another... and they have hated one another pretty much non-stop since around 750AD. If one reads he Arab Mind by Raphael Patai, one gains an appreciation for the hierarchy of loyalties that rule the arabs. That hierarchy is extremely rigid and is never broached. It goes: family then clan then sect and only then, country. I do not think that we have any right to assume that arab men and women in Iraq will set aside a cultural edict that has ruled their ethnicity for a millennium just because a bunch of Christian crusaders from America let them dip their fingers in some ink and get a taste of democracy. I firmly believe that, whenever America leaves Iraq, that the country will rapidly devolve into sectarian violence. If we continue to train sunni and shi'ite members of the Iraqi military, and continue to incur our own casualties during that process, the end result will be: we WILL leave Iraq someday and our body count will grow in an increasingly steep curve until that time, and then, when we leave, the Iraqi army will devolve into sunni and shi'ite militias and, based upon how long we spend training them, those militias will be that much more efficient at killing one another and every civilian that gets in their way. I firmly believe that Iraq is destined to be a shi'ite quasi-theocracy and it will be closely aligned with its sectarian brothers in shi'ite Iran. It is not a question of IF, it is only a question of WHEN. Those on here who spew this bullshit about Al Qaeda getting their hands on Iraqi oil do not understand that the shi'ites will NEVER let a handful of deadenders in their final throes - a bunch of interlopers of the minority sect - to control ANYTHING in Iraq. AQ will undoubtedly inflict a great deal of carnage on both sunnis, shiites and Americans until we leave, and then, they will continue to inflict carnage on shi'ites primarily and secondarily, on sunni ba'athists who don't want to play their game and who do not buy into their wahabbist vision of a sunni caliphate. In summary, this PNAC vision of a multi-cultural Jeffersonian democracy blossoming on the banks of the Euphrates and acting as America's best pal and super-friend ally in the middle east linking arms with us in the struggle against islamic extremism and simultaneously acting as a source for plentiful and cheap oil that they will sell their American corporate petro-buddies at a discount out of gratitude for ridding them of Saddam and introducing them to the joys of participatory democracy....that is now, and has always been, a fucking pipe dream and a dangerously costly mistake that has made the region less safe and made America less safe. To continue to spill American blood on Iraqi sand just to avoid admitting we fucked up in the first place is criminal. And further, to express that belief is NOT traitorous, but profoundly patriotic.