IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL . . . er, until the long haul actually, you know, happens. Here’s what Chuck Hagel and Joe Biden said in 2002:

Although no one doubts our forces will prevail over Saddam Hussein’s, key regional leaders confirm what the Foreign Relations Committee emphasized in its Iraq hearings last summer: The most challenging phase will likely be the day after — or, more accurately, the decade after — Saddam Hussein.

Once he is gone, expectations are high that coalition forces will remain in large numbers to stabilize Iraq and support a civilian administration. That presence will be necessary for several years, given the vacuum there, which a divided Iraqi opposition will have trouble filling and which some new Iraqi military strongman must not fill.

So, it was a project for a decade then. But now it’s cut-and-run. (Via The Corner).