Another reason people might have been led to think the postwar period would be “easy,” from the New York Times, May 3, 2003, via Atrios.
The Bush administration is planning to withdraw most United States combat forces from Iraq over the next several months and wants to shrink the American military presence to less than two divisions by the fall, senior allied officials said today.
If the administration plan is carried out, the effect would be to reduce the number of American troops in Iraq from over 130,000 soldiers and marines at present to 30,000 troops or fewer by the fall.
Conservatives like Sullivan can quibble over semantics all they want (they never specifically said the word ‘imminent’! Or ‘easy’!), but the fact remains this is not going anywhere near as smoothly as we were led to believe, and people are dying on a daily basis as a result. The vehemence with which this basic fact is denied is inversely proportionate to the honesty of the person doing the denying, I think.
(Minor edit for grammatical mistake.)