Conveniently enough, the Center for American Progress Action Fund hosted a Joe Biden event a few months ago at which he delivered a speech about Iraq and foreign policy more generally. You can watch the whole thing. This seems insightful and well-put to me:
Biden argued that the costs of our involvement in Iraq have outweighed the benefits and have ironically strengthened the greatest challenge to U.S. interests in the region: Iran. But “the idea that we can wipe out every vestige of Iran’s influence in Iraq is a fantasy,” Biden said. “Even with 160,000 American troops in Iraq, Prime Minister Maliki, our ally in Baghdad, greets Iran’s leader with kisses — Iran is a major regional power and it shares a long border — and a long history — with Iraq. Right now, Iran loves the status quo, with 140,000 Americans troops bogged down and bleeding, caught in a cross fire of intra-Shi’a rivalry and Sunni-Shi’a civil war.”
Biden explained that by “drawing down, we can take away Iran’s ability to wage a proxy war against our troops and force Tehran to concentrate on avoiding turmoil inside Iraq’s borders and instability beyond them.”
Watching Biden’s announcement speech now.