our goal for exiting iraq (a country that didn't really want us there in the first fucking place, but hey, that's neither here nor there) is to leave the country in a democracy without leaving a bloody mess.
okay, so here's the deal. when the usa started some 250 years ago, there was little the original colonials could agree upon. the one thing they could agree upon was they hated england and its tyranny.
so we sit down all the different factions, jihads, groups, and parties, and we say to them (in our best texas accent), "okay, here's the deal, y'all hate the fuck out of us. that's something y'all got in common, so start there."
then we proceed to tell them that here's some guidelines to follow: you get to have slaves for a hundred years, free them after a bloody civil war that tears the country apart and kills many of the males, and then treat them like second-class citizens for nearly another hundred years, and after riots in the streets and shootings and police brutality, you will grudgingly allow them the same rights you yourself enjoy. however, it will take literally forever for a percentage of your population to treat them like equals. you will also assume people living in the geographic part of your country that lost the civil war are fucking morons and bigots because some hundred years ago, their way of life centered around having (and in many cases, mistreating) slaves.
in about forty years, we will come back and burn down some important gubernatorial building, and you will kill all of us that reside still within your borders off. this will further unite the powers that be in your country. (i say powers that be because the slaves, the minorities, and the women won't give a flying fuck so long as they aren't messed with. they will be too busy trying to fucking survive)
you won't allow your women to vote for about a hundred and forty years, and won't allow them to work in "manly" jobs for another thirty years after that, and then it will take about another fifteen to twenty years for them to even be allowed to push for higher positions in politics and business. like the freed slaves, they may never quite get treated like equals, and will always be fighting for equality.
so there you have it. democracy is not pretty. it doesn't happen over night, it doesn't seem to happen fully even over the span of a hundred or two hundred years, and that's just if you look at our own history. i didn't even touch upon getting to nearly obliterate the indigenous peoples of the area, and then giving them casinos and fireworks stands as a pisspoor attempt to make it up to them. and who's to say that iraq's democracy should turn out like ours? certainly not me. i think it would be a wonderful thing, in amongst all the less-than glorious moments, if iraq were to beat our record (and by that i mean seriously less blood, less loss of life, and considerably less years) for "democracy" by a large margin.
and i think that if we start with the "y'all hate us" line as a basis, iraq could get together a working democracy in no time at all.