Today, the Iraqi government is much more accommodating to Iran than to the United States, despite the fact that Americans put them in power. The very same scenario was repeated in Afghanistan, with President Obama himself announcing a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai saw the handwriting on the wall -- and what it said was that American support was temporary but the Taliban was going to be around long after the Americans were gone. He too decided that it was better to try to get on the good side of our enemies, in this case by turning loose some terrorists.
It doesn't have to be this way.
After World War II, the American military took over the governments of Japan and West Germany. We did not start out by setting up some local leader who would be able to put his own interests above ours and work at cross purposes against us. Nor did we announce to the whole world when we planned to start reducing our troop levels in these countries.
Under the unchallenged supremacy of General Douglas MacArthur, Japan was indeed turned into a very different country, one in which democratic institutions could be phased in, at whatever pace the circumstances made prudent. Something similar happened in West Germany.
But this was not something that could be done quickly or on the cheap, with politicians sounding off in Congress about pulling out, and trying to micromanage from thousands of miles away. If we can't be serious, we have no right to send young Americans out into the hell of war.