Tigerhawk thinks through the whole question of strategy in Iraq by reasoning from a series of "minimalist assertions". One interesting conclusion:
My best guess is that a strong and legitimate government of a unified Iraq will emerge more quickly if the United States withdraws. This is because the international journalists will mostly leave if the United States leaves, so the combatants will be free to use brutal methods that will more quickly and decisively exhaust the losers' will to fight. Unfortunately, we cannot reliably predict the nature of that ultimate national government.
The effect of the observer upon the actual outcome of an experiment has long been a feature of the philosophy of science as regards quantum physics. Maybe it works that way for history too, except that the wave function collapses differently when the New York Times is doing the observing. Tigerhawk is not the first person to suggest that the success of a counterinsurgency campaign varies inversely with the presence of the mass media. Max Boot once suggested that small American interventions succeeded because they did not drag in the press, and with it the distorting gravitational field of Washington, DC. Anyway here is some food for thought for those with a philosophical bent. Maybe there's a world in which all possible outcomes in Iraq happen. I wonder which one we will experience. (This is a playful post, so don't take the assertion too seriously.)
The many-worlds interpretation or MWI (also known as relative state formulation, theory of the universal wavefunction, many-universes interpretation, Oxford interpretation or many worlds), is an interpretation of quantum mechanics that claims to resolve all the "paradoxes" of quantum theory by allowing every possible outcome to every event to define or exist in its own "history" or "world", via the mechanism of quantum decoherence, instead of wavefunction collapse. Proponents argue that MWI reconciles how we can perceive non-deterministic events (such as the random decay of a radioactive atom) with the deterministic equations of quantum physics; history, which prior to many worlds had been viewed as a single "world-line", is rather a many-branched tree where every possible branch of history is realized.