Joe Klein in Time Magazine:
Our attempt to construct an Iraq more amenable to our interests will end no better than the previous attempts by Western colonial powers. Even if something resembling democracy prevails, the U.S. invasion and occupation will not be remembered fondly by Iraqis. We will own the destruction in perpetuity; if the Iraqis manage to cobble themselves a decent society, they will see it, correctly, as an achievement of their own.
There are other consequences of this profound misadventure. The return of the Taliban in Afghanistan is certainly one. If U.S. attention hadn't been diverted from that primary conflict, the story in the Pashtun borderlands might be very different now. The sense of the U.S. as a repository of tempered, honorable actions may never recover from the images of the past decade, especially the photographs from Abu Ghraib prison. The idea that it was our right and responsibility to rid Iraq of a terrible dictator - after the original casus belli of weapons of mass destruction evaporated - turned out to be a neocolonialist delusion.
The US is now seen as a former colonial power just like France and Britain? Is a more positive legacy of the Iraq war imaginable?