Iraq the First Battle in a "Long War"?
John Robb of Global Guerrillas believes that Iraq's descent into what he calls "primary loyalties" (tribal and sectarian allegiances) is more or less permanent, and that the war there will affect us for decades to come, long after George W. Bush has left office and the last American soldier has left that country:
Increasing pressure on US forces (from all sides) and an inability to take sides will eventually result in a US withdrawal. Oil production from Iraq will remain at current levels -- below pre-war -- despite the need for it to supply rapid growth in global demand. Regional instability will follow and transnational terrorism will continue its meteoric growth rate. Unfortunately, unlike the US withdrawal from Vietnam, global integration will ensure that this conflict will follow US forces back home.
In other words, according to Robb we've only begun to see the effects of this conflicts, both in the US and worldwide.