A terrible scenario is unfolding in the Sadr City district of Baghdad where the U.S. military outposts will pull out June 30.
Some U.S. and Iraqi military officials and civilian leaders believe the impoverished Shiite community will return to lawlessness and ignite a civil war.
"When the Americans leave, everything will be looted because no one will be watching," an Iraqi army lieutenant newly deployed there said. "There will be a civil war -- without a doubt," predicted an Iraqi interpreter. Council members have asked about political asylum in the United States.
Such a doomsday offering is portrayed in a story in Sunday's Washington Post.
The story has credence because since the U.S. troop surge began destroying the Shiite Mahdi Army, its commander cleric Moqtada al-Sadr ordered his followers to lay down their weapons.
The issue is whether al-Sadr will cooperate with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's assertion that his government stands ready to assume control over security.
Sadr City and Mosul are ticking time bombs.
If the situation explodes after June 30, all the gains the U.S. military achieved at a horrendous loss of lives will go down the drain. No doubt our forces will be called back into a never ending presence to provide security for a nation we invaded with no exit strategy.
One segment of the Post story made me wince. As part of the reconstruction effort in Sadr City, the U.S. paid civilian leaders to act as informants in what could be described as a neighborhood watch program. These people, who now drive Mercedes Benzes and Hummers, fear for their lives.
I concur that as a presidential candidate John McCain received a lot of flack from the left when he asserted U.S. troops may be needed in Iraq for the next 50 to 100 years.
We'll find out this summer.