Zalmay Khalilzad may be the only--the only--person to emerge from the George W. Bush administration with his reputation enhanced. But even he is prone to wishful thinking of "and let's all get free ponies!" type. Here's Matthew Yglesias:
If Wishes Were Ponies | TPMCafe: "The United States is investing billions of dollars" in Iraq's police and army, said the ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad. "We are not going to invest the resources of the American people to build forces run by people who are sectarian." This is an appropriate sentiment, except that the record of the past indicates that we have, in fact, been investing the resources of the American people to build forces run by people who are sectarian.
Now it would seem that insofar as we insist on linking our aid to a modicum of restraint, the Iraqi government will probably find a way to accommodate us to some extent. But it also seems to me that this doesn't resolve the underlying issue. What's wanted is an Iraqi leadership that genuinely doesn't desire to advance sectarian aims, not a sectarian leadership we're kinda sorta restraining and that's always looking for ways to push the envelop.
But barring some dramatic and unmotivated change of heart on the part of the United Iraqi Alliance, that just isn't the kind of leadership that Iraq is going to have and we're past the point where Khalizad could just conjure one up. So why not look to start moving away from a situation where we're investing the American people's resources into a bad situation? Do the words "permanent bases" ring a bell?