I want the surge to work and recognize that we have interests in the Middle East that will remain until a substitute for Middle Eastern oil is found. But I am dismayed by reports that the US and Iraq have agreed that US troops will stay there long term.
We should not be permanently occupying Iraq. Yet, 62 years after the end of World War II and 18 years after the Berlin Wall fell, we still maintain troops in Europe. The Europeans whine whenever we talk about reducing them further and a long standing plan to remove 2 heavy combat brigades was recently shelved. We still have 300 nuclear warheads in Europe. We maintain a force in South Korea too small to influence North Korea or defend the South (the real defense of South Korea should be and is with the South Korean army). We maintain a force in Japan. We maintain troops in the Balkans after our temporary occupation following the Balkan Crisis (and Kosovo still does not have an effective government).
Whenever we talk about removing troops from anywhere, the locals whine. Because we have effectively promised to defend them, so it removes real responsibility for their own security. Which is why the Europeans were completely useless in dealing with the Balkan Crisis and why South Korea in the end will follow a policy of appeasement with the North.
So it is not just Iraq. Our entire security policy has a lack of imagination and a certain amount of inertia. And not just us. Britain still has troops in Germany.