Katulis and Juul help put into perspective the tentative position of Iraq in saying that Iraq's leadership remains split on a draft version of SOFA (Katulis and Juul, online). The Iraqi cabinet must vote a two-thirds majority in favor of their support for a plan (Katulis and Juul). This may be difficult to achieve when the cabinet is divided along religious sect lines. It is, too, perhaps the first time since the election of the cabinet by the Iraqi people that they had to put such concerted emphasis on their decision making, because, once made, there is no turning back from that decision which could result in the U.S. pulling out of Iraq beginning almost immediately. What follows will answer the question of whether or not Iraq is prepared to stand on its own against the forces of Islamic fundamentalist extremism. Leaving Iraq may see it become impossible to regain the strategic geographical and military advantage in the future as is now being maintained by American forces in Iraq.
The decision for Americans to pull out of Iraq should not be a decision made by the American public, but must be one made entirely by the Iraqis. Only then can the outcome of that decision exonerate Americans for pulling their forces out of Iraq and leaving it vulnerable to the forces of Islamic extremism. Islamic extremist forces, contrary to the perceptions of most Americans, are not embodied in the physical person of Osama Bin Laden. That has been proven time and again both in Afghanistan and in Iraq.
Peter Galbraith (2008), again, as Hanson pointed out, a detractor with a book titled Is this a Victory, appeals to the American sense of fatigue and disillusionment not with the war status, but with the ongoing battle against terrorism. So long as Americans are in control of the military defense situation in Iraq, there is no loss that can be counted against it; Americans are militarily in control of the situation in Iraq.
The problem with arguments that are being made against the Bush Administration and by the media pundits, academicians, and politicians is that they have their own agendas to further in berating the public to the point of concurrence with their ideas or positions. They want to sell books, news magazines, web site advertising, or are working to have their own political party gain control over the American Congress. They are poised to point the finger at the Bush Administration no matter which way events in the Middle East go, and no matter who, be it the newly elected president or the Iraqi Cabinet as the final authority in the decision on SOFA.
As Hanson points out, the jihadists do not need fighter jets, a navy fleet or even tanks to win their war against the west (Hoover Institution, Hanson, online). Their tools are terrorism, and this, too, seems to be one of the aspects of the present and future nature of warfare that people choose not to acknowledge. The goals of terrorism are no to destroy buildings, although the destruction of buildings as occurred on September 11, 2001, does indeed further their work; it is rather to cause a disruption of the economy, to create political division, world discord, to instill a prevailing atmosphere of fear and panic, and to bring down the society that is the target of the terrorist acts. In this regard, as we examine where America is today, and where the rest of the world is as economies are collapsing around us, it might be fair to say that the jihadists are winning their war of terrorism.
Who would have believed, as Hanson so succinctly argues, that a world amidst the technological progress where the world stands today could be brought to its knees by terrorists who have effectively enslaved the freedoms that it has taken America and its post World War II allies hundreds of years to achieve? Today, cartoon satire depicting Islamic extremists can be banned - instituting the Islamic fundamentalist goal to ban ideas and images; the words "war on terror" have been ostensibly set aside because they have become too psychologically burdensome to the public - instituting the Islamic fundamentalist goal to ban words from the language; and other examples of giving into the weight of terrorism as cited by Hanson (Hanson, online). Echoing Galbraith, the question must be asked, "Is…