As for the claims that Iran would benefit from the U.S. withdrawal, the fact of the matter is that Iraq became “exposed” to Iranian influence the moment the Bush administration removed Saddam Hussein. For years Saddam had served as the biggest check on Iranian power in the region. It was the Bush administration, supported by the likes of Krauthammer and Ajami, that created an Iraqi government largely run by Iran’s partners and clients. Paradoxically, removing the U.S. presence from Iraq could actually serve to diminish Iranian influence there, by removing one of the drivers of resentment that Iran has exploited in recent years to its advantage.
Whatever the merits of the conservative attacks on Obama’s pullout, it is worth noting how little traction they have gotten in the media and in the presidential campaign. The anti-pullout talking points have been delivered and repeated with frequency and discipline that conservatives regularly exhibit, but Americans just aren’t interested in hearing it, at least not right now. Polls continue to show about three-quarters of Americans support Obama’s decision to withdraw troops, with around two-thirds believing that the war was not worth the costs and consequences.
The continuing violence in Iraq (which is itself driven by enduring political tensions that call into question the “success of the surge” narrative) will be offered as evidence of Obama’s alleged bungling of a war that was won for him. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s increasingly authoritarian tendencies (which were very much apparent when President Bush was still in office) will be presented as proof of Obama’s alleged failure to commit the necessary resources to the building of Iraqi democracy.
In reality, these things should be taken as evidence of the limits of U.S. military power to create the outcomes we would like. While Americans currently aren’t buying what the Iraq war’s remaining advocates are selling, it’s important to keep reminding everybody what’s in the snake oil.
Military power is for DEFENSE, not to "create outcomes". We're slowly learning that about like several other now-defunct empires did.