Is Iraq a preview for Afghanistan?

It’s only 11 years since the U.S. invaded Iraq, misguided in the idea we would find weapons of mass destruction, and naive in the notion that we would be welcomed as liberators by a grateful nation which would embrace freedom and democracy.
It took eight years of fighting insurgent rebels and terrorists before we finally pulled our troops out of Iraq, hopeful that the fledgling government would be ready to fly and that the Iraqi forces would be up to the job of maintaining order.
Today, that hope is being tested. Sunni Muslim troops calling themselves the Islamic State of Iran in Syria, have pushed government troops out of a major portion of Iraq, taking over Mosul and Tikrit, with eyes on Baghdad. Iraq has declared a state of emergency, Shiite clerics are calling for all able-bodied Shiites to take up arms, and the country is heading for a civil war.
All this is happening after President Barack Obama set a date for pulling our troops out of Afghanistan by 2016. We will have less than 10,000 troops there by the end of the year.
It is doubtful that the Afghan government is any more stable than the Iraqi government, or that their troops are better prepared to counter the Taliban insurgents waiting in remote regions and in Pakistan to push their way back into control.
We could be seeing a repeat of the Iraqi scenario playing out in Afghanistan as soon as American troops pull out.
It’s a sad situation, but our nation-building dreams have not succeeded. We need to leave it to Iraq and Afghanistan to find their own way.

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