Defense Sec. Gates has said that any Sec. Def. that proposes to a President to send a sizable US force into the Middle East or Africa "should have their head examined.' Heck we even learn that from The Princess Bride.
I have been mulling over an alternative to this and it is cold blooded and not the least bit humanitarian. It is a fact of life that we will have to intervene in this area again at some point. Whether it be in Iran or back to Afghanistan if the Taliban or a version of them takes the country back over. The next time we go in do what we went in to do and leave that means leaving the enemy dead on the ground and their infrastructure destroyed. The people of the Middle East while being able to tolerate Westerners for a short period of time have no desire to have a mini Marshall plan done on their country if foreigners will have to be there for an extended period of time. To them this smacks of occupation and that they will not tolerate. The Iraqis thought they could take over as soon as the Hussien regime was toppled well we should have let them and from here on out when we have to intervene we follow the same steps we did during and after Desert Storm. Get in get out and leave the rebuilding to someone else.