Whenever America withdraws, it will have empowered a Sunni narrative that brave warriors of the faith brought low the mighty power of the West. The challenge facing Washington is how to secure America’s interests in the Middle East in light of such perceptions.

Nearly four years after the American invasion, it is time to acknowledge that the mission will likely remain unaccomplished. The problems that the American invasion was to avert have only grown worse. Instead of embracing distorted myths that only perpetuate an errant war, it is time to appreciate that the consequences of failure may not be calamitous. ~Nikolas Gvosdev and Ray Takeyh, The Los Angeles Times