This logical confusion is compounded by the problem of political realities, a term Democrats love to throw around when referring to Iraq. If the American people are already weary of a war effort for ideals and security interests, it is inconceivable that they'd be gung-ho about fighting for ideals alone in a conflict that poses no tangible security threats to the U.S. or its allies. If Obama does decide to go ahead with this kind of intervention at the expense of Iraq, he will likely find public opinion precluding him from taking any meaningful action, with the end result akin to Clinton's Mogadishu.
While Obama's focus on Afghanistan is laudable, the lengths he is willing to take are unnecessary. If we are to learn anything about counter-insurgency from Iraq, it is that securing populations, making them feel safe, and facilitating their meaningful reconstruction is the key to defeating rogue insurgents and terrorist elements. If Obama is worried about the troop strength available to do this kind of job, the solution need not be Iraqi redeployment. Instead, he can move American troops, who are currently focused on hunting al-Qaeda operatives at the expense of grave collateral Afghani damage, away from the Pakistani border and integrate them with ISAF forces in the Afghani heartland. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban become effectively marginalized if they are unable to penetrate any Afghan cities and take them over, as they did in Iraq, and are forced over time to reckon with a burgeoning Afghani military.
Obama's latest remarks are also telling. His threat to Musharaff that "if we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will" is disturbing. Philosophically, these remarks are compatible with the neoconservative tenet that pre-emption is justified and preferrable in times of grave danger. Yet, part of the neoconservative persuasion is the belief that the war on terrorism is a larger war against jihad that is complicated, large-scale, and global. It is about winning hearts and minds with more than just nice talk and diplomatic initiatives, but with funding and support that actually strengthen dysfunctional Muslim societies. Moreover, many neoconservatives who have been accused of "distracting" the U.S. from the "real" threat of Bin Laden have stressed that the war is more than just al-Qaeda. So it is reckless when Obama proposes that we unilaterally invade an ally, with many societally destabilizing effects no less, in order to capture just a few al-Qaeda operatives. It smacks of the myopia that is so popular on the left these days.
Of-course, the real threats, at least as perceived by neoconservatives, are given carte-blanche by Obama to continue murdering American soldiers in Iraq with 'explosively formed penetrators' and Hezbollah militants, and to black-mail the world for nuclear weapons or annexation of Lebanon, as in the case of Iran and Syria. Not only that, Obama wants to issue significant diplomatic overtures to these nations at a time when the precise punishment for such intransigence, for want of meaningful economic sanctions, is diplomatic isolation. In fact, these suggestions demonstrate a lack of understanding of the motives of these countries and run counter to any neoconservative ideology.