We are not the first to misunderstand another culture or underestimate resistance to foisting our "superior" way of life on the natives. Intense religious conflicts do not acquiesce to rationality, and they scuttle hopes that the combatants will be governed by enlightened self-interest. Roses strewn along the path of the liberators soon molder as sworn enemies default to millennial patterns.
Our presence will have exerted precious little that is positive, and we will have left in our wake the senseless destruction of lives and needless loss of property, the exile of millions and the radicalization of multitudes. Meanwhile, Iran will have become predominant and will soon emerge as the greatest threat to humankind the world has ever known. President Bush's lamentable legacy in Iraq will be overshadowed by the horrific fact that it was on his watch that Iran actually attained what he told us Iraq had acquired: weapons of mass destruction.