America faces an existential threat. ~Liz Cheney

From Iraqis?  I think not.  The people who face an “existential threat” in Iraq are Iraqis–and the threat is posed to them by other Iraqis.  War supporters can have it one of two ways: they can harp on the fact that this is a fairly limited, relatively low-casualty war (quick, cite numbers from Shiloh and Iwo Jima!), which implies that the United States are not in grave danger of annihilation from the Jaysh al-Mahdi et al. or they can claim that this is a war for our very existence, in which case their years-long defense of inadequate Bush administration planning and preparation for a war of such magnitude is shown to be something of a fraud.  The administration does not wage this as if it were a war for our very existence, which means that they are either criminally negligent or they are exaggerating the nature of the threat when they and their supporters say these things. 

Will the red, white and black tricolour of Iraqi nationalism be flying over the Capitol in the foreseeable future if we withdraw from Iraq?  Obviously not.  To talk about the Iraq war in terms of an “existential threat” is ludicrous. 

We are fighting the war on terrorism with allies across the globe, leaders such as Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan and Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan. Brave activists are also standing with us, fighting for freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the empowerment of women. They risk their lives every day to defeat the forces of terrorism.

I had thought we were done with this senseless talk about fighting “terrorism.”  “We” do not fight “terrorism,” nor do we fight the “forces of terrorism.”  “We” fight jihadis.  Arguably, if more resources were available for Afghanistan and Waziristan operations, we would be focusing our attention on the real “central front,” to the extent that one can speak of global counterinsurgency in terms of “fronts,” which is anachronistic and tied to conventional warfare of a previous generation.  If we actually had reliable allies in Pakistan, they would have persisted in their campaign against the Pakistani Taliban.  In fact, they had their heads handed to them and have ceased military operations against the Taliban, to which still far too many members of the Pakistani security services and government have remained tied.  In Pakistan we face the same absurd situation that we do in Iraq: we rely heavily on the local government to pursue our goals, not noticing that the local government is deeply compromised by elements of the very enemy forces we are trying to eradicate.  We stake much on the trustworthiness of Musharraf, author of the Kargil War, inveterate enemy of our real ally, India, and perpetual supporter of Kashmiri separatist violence, and on that of Maliki, who has repeatedly shown that his loyalties lie with his master Moqtada.  In short, with “allies” like these we scarcely need enemies.  To recognise the futility of fighting alongside an “ally” like Maliki is not a danger to our broader security interests, but is fundamental to protecting them.  If the alternative to withdrawal is to throw more Americans into the fire of Iraq to make it appear as if we are doing something different, withdrawal is the only sane and decent option as far as American interests are concerned.