Jim Holt, writing in the London Review of Books, argues that the Iraq war has put us in the catbird seat. Our presence in Iraq and the present need for Iraq to rely on our assistance will assure Iraq supplies us with a reliable source of oil, help US businesses in the petro area, undercut Iran , OPEC the Saudis and Russia and neutralize the threat from energy hungry China.
The costs - a few billion dollars a month plus a few dozen American fatalities (a figure which will probably diminish, and which is in any case comparable to the number of US motorcyclists killed because of repealed helmet laws) - are negligible compared to $30 trillion in oil wealth, assured American geopolitical supremacy and cheap gas for voters. In terms of realpolitik, the invasion of Iraq is not a fiasco; it is a resounding success
Unlike the author, I do not believe this was the reason for the invasion or the measures we adopted once in Iraq, but rather unintended consequences of something undertaken for perfectly rational national defense considerations. But it is hard to argue that the end result of all our efforts -- even failed ones--may be an enormous plus.