As we draw down, the civil war is likely to intensify, and the focus of our efforts will have to shift to containing it within Iraq's borders. Preventing intervention by outside forces will become an even more urgent priority.
On the other hand, it is not necessarily the case that the situation will spiral out of control. Although the situation is graver in some ways than Vietnam, in others it is better. Although we have no equivalent to a South Vietnamese army, the enemy has no equivalent of the North Vietnamese army. It is hard to see any of the small factions struggling for power in different parts of the country emerging as a dominant force throughout Iraq.
The presence of U.S. forces has itself been a spur to terrorist recruitment, but as it becomes clear that we are on our way out, it will be easier for Iraqi nationalists to turn against the foreign jihadists (as they have already begun to do in Al Anbar province).
An intensifying civil war will be a tragedy for Iraq, but it is not the worst outcome from a U.S. standpoint to have a number of bitterly anti-American groups duking it out among themselves.
The problem I have with this theory is that an Iraq in chaos plays into the hands of Iran, which fits very well the description of the "North Vietnamese Army" of this situation.
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