The Obama administration lacks a vision and a strategy, and the regime in Baghdad lacks the assured capability of securing U.S. "core interests" in Iraq, he writes. Among these are ensuring that the state does not collapse, that civil war does not break out, that Iranian influence does not surge, that al-Qaida or Iranian militias do not establish sanctuaries.
Moreover, writes Kagan, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is "unwinding the multi-ethnic cross-sectarian Iraqi political settlement."
To Kagan, an enthusiast of the war, everything vital that we won in almost nine years of fighting is at risk.
But if we have no assurance that the disasters he lists will not occur, perhaps within months of our departure, what kind of victory is this?
What did we accomplish with a war whose costs in blood, Iraqi as well as American, and treasure were so high?
"We are leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people," President Obama told the troops at Fort Bragg.
The Kurds are cutting deals with U.S. oil companies that Baghdad refuses to recognize, seeking to incorporate Kirkuk, and edging toward independence, which would cross a red line not only in Baghdad but Ankara.
Muslim pogroms have uprooted half the Christians, and half of these Christians have fled the country, many to Syria.
Maliki is moving against the Sunni Awakening warriors whom Gen. David Petraeus persuaded to fight al-Qaida in return for their being brought into the army.
The Sunnis sees themselves as dispossessed and marginalized in a country they have historically dominated. Al-Qaida continues to launch terror attacks on civilians to reignite sectarian war. And as the Americans head down the highway to Kuwait, Iran works to displace America as the dominant foreign influence in Baghdad.
That we were deceived into believing Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction ready to use, and that he was the man behind 9/11 -- that we were lied into war -- is established fact.
But, equally astonishing, though Bush & Co. planned this war from Sept. 11, 2001, if not before, no one seems to have thought it through before launching it. For as John McCain said yesterday, as of 2007, "the war was nearly lost."
Yet the disaster that may still befall us in Iraq has not in the least inhibited the war hawks who, even now, are advancing identical arguments for a new war, on Iran, a country three times the size of Iraq.