While debate over a war's merits -- and whether to withdraw -- is a sign of a healthy democracy, Iraq unfortunately highlights many of the difficulties a democracy faces in a long-term counterinsurgency or nation-building campaign. Such debate can be detrimental to the battle for perceptions. Having linked its future to an antiwar stance, the Democratic Congress has in effect told Iraqis that they are best off joining militias, because the dissolution of Iraq is only going to accelerate.
This is the same Democratic Congress that rubber stamped George Bush's last request for just under $100 billion dollars.
You might've thought that the threat of sectarian death squads was a bigger motivator for potential recruits.
Honestly, if this is the thinking of a man who bills himself as "a co-author of the military's counterinsurgency field manual" I'm not surprised that our efforts in Iraq are going so badly. We aren't failing in because people are debating it. We're failing because the people running it think it can be won with the best propaganda strategy.
h/t Matt Yglesias