ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SHUT WINDOW. Nir Rosen on how America missed the window of opportunity when withdrawal might have improved the situation on the ground in Iraq -- and why it should leave, anyway:

I supported a withdrawal certainly until 2005. In my articles, I was saying that an American withdrawal would prevent a civil war from happening and would force Sunnis and Shia to step up and take responsibility and to co-operate. And it would allow Sunnis to participate in the government.

But now that I think the civil war is sort of open and intense, I don't think an American withdrawal would make much difference and it's possible that an American withdrawal would actually make things worse because there will be nobody patrolling the borders and would allow even more foreign fighters to come into the Sunni areas.

It would allow greater intervention from Iraq's neighbours which will only increase the civil war. I think the Americans should leave. The Americans shouldn't be here occupying Iraq and killing Iraqis but an American withdrawal wouldn't make things better at this point because of the civil war.

I don't know quite what to make of this, but Rosen is voicing a worry I'm hearing more frequently from people who have supported American withdrawal -- the question of whether withdrawal may in fact worsen the situation on the ground in Iraq. Relatedly, Art Levine has a post up over at The Huffington Post about how the American anti-war movement could be more effective if it united around the Reed-Levin plan.

--Garance Franke-Ruta

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