- 2002 - We succeeded in routing the Taleban in Afghanistan after 9/11, therefore we should take the opportunity to ride into Baghdad and oust a noisome regime, for which the brutally oppressed populace will thank us and return to their suppressed democratic instincts. We must do it right away because our debauched intel shows that Saddam might have a couple remote-control planes that could technically buzz Tel Aviv or something.
- 2004 - The Iraqis love our democracy-whiskey-sexy, they just don't know it yet. Inside every Iraqi is an American waiting to get out. Don't take their word for it, though.
- 2006 - A sea of purple fingers and the hasty lynching of Saddam ensure that democracy is hustling in forthwith. Expect a Starbucks on every corner by July '07.
- 2008 - The surge is working. The surge is working. You can tell by the way Iraqis have resumed normal lives and violence has ceased. The surge is working, dammit. We win.
- 2009 - Now that we've won in Iraq, we can take the surge principles we learned -- which worked, mind you, and spectacularly at that -- and apply them directly to Afghanistan. Even though they are completely different places, with different people, customs, languages, and most importantly terrain and infrastructure, and even though, as you no doubt remember, we ousted the Taleban seven years ago, this can't possibly not work gloriously. Even though we really can't afford excursions like these anymore.
With deluded thinking like that perpetuating ad infinitum, even with the smart set acceding to the reins of power, the Afghan bailout has roughly the same chance of success as the American one. I suppose it depends on how one defines "success"; clearly, that word no longer means what I thought it meant.