Ponder an alternate future for Iraq and its neighbors.
We win the war and defeat al Qaeda, Syrian, and Iranian attempts to destroy Iraq. Al Qaeda is discredited by their murderous mass killing of Moslems and their defeat by the American-led Coalition.
We remain in Iraq to promote the development of real democracy as an alternative to autocracy or Islamist dictatorship.
First Lebanon experiences a Cedar Revolution that gives democracy a chance. Then the Arab world has an Arab Spring that likewise seeks people calling for the concept of democracy that they don't really understand but which they see as a real alternative to autocrats or mullahs running their lives.
We work to promote rule of law in these countries and to get other countries to open up their systems to start moving away from autocracy--whether civilian or royal.
Syria itself gets payback for their role in fomenting violence in Iraq and Lebanon, which we jump on to support rebels who reject Islamism and Alawite minority rule.
Iran experiences a Green Revolution that we leverage to end the theocratic oligarchy that runs Iran and seeks to dominate the region with terror and nuclear weapons.
Jihad loses its appeal as young men rot in unmarked graves instead of being celebrated as martyrs.
Arab Moslem reformers gain a more receptive audience for changing Arab Moslem society that has kept the region backwards.
Eventually, better economic and social opportunities offer a hint of a better future for the prime recruits for jihad.
Wealthy Gulf Arabs who like to fund jihadis find their money wasted as jihadi candidates are fewer and more difficult to reach. They just keep their money, more and more.
But that sequence did not happen.
We walked away from Iraq and refused to make an effort to quickly defeat Assad, allowing jihadis to rise up in Syria and blow back into Iraq, where democratic institutions start to wither without our support and pressure.
We failed to treat the mullah regime in Iran as an enemy, instead strengthening them to allow them to undermine Iraq and spend lots of money and effort to restore Assad's hope of victory in Syria.
Lebanon remains a haven for Iranian proxy Hezbollah which fights for Assad and prepares to bombard Israel again.
Arab Spring revolts in Libya and Egypt--with Libya receiving a NATO air power assist--turned sour.
And the appeal of jihad is revived as al Qaeda rebounds as the strong horse once again in the minds of young Moslem men without hope of a better future.
Only Tunis remains hopefully more sane.
You can say that American direct ground intervention caused our problems in Iraq.
But in Syria we stayed out completely at first, restricting intervention to minor aid while dealing with the regime to purportedly get rid of their chemical weapons, yet the situation got much bloodier much faster. And somehow Assad found chemical weapons capabilities to use that weren't part of the deal we made.
In Libya we tried just aerial intervention that led to a dead dictator, but oddly the locals failed to resolve their differences on their own without our "tainting" presence.
And we tried reaching out to a thug regime by launching an outreach to the mullahs of Iran and refusing to have even a hashtag campaign in support of Iran's Green Revolution people who risked their lives to go into the streets to protest the mullahs.
But no, blame Bush for the problems in Iraq. Hell, yell "Halliburton!!!" if it makes you feel better.