Charles Krauthammer writes (“Obama missed opportunities for a peaceful result in Iraq,” Nov. 4). “Years from now we will be asking not ‘Who lost Iraq?’ – that already is clear – but ‘Why?’” he concludes.

Perhaps Mr. Krauthammer harbors nostalgic longing for the era of American hubris and meddling that yielded CIA-led coups over democratically elected leaders in Iran, Guatemala and Chile. He blames the Obama administration for failing to broker “a centrist nationalist coalition governed by the major blocs,” apparently disregarding a couple of important facts: Iraq did in fact hold a credible and legitimate election, but even though Ayad Allawi won that election, our man Nouri al-Maliki refused to step down and suffered no consequences.

I remind Mr. Krauthammer that Iraq is not an American possession, that the goal all along was to produce a sovereign nation free of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorial rule, not an American puppet masquerading as a democracy. Why must power and influence be the sole measures by which we judge our foreign policy?

Does he really believe Iraqis welcome our continued influence on their politics? Iran may indeed become more influential to Iraqi politics than the United States. But how long should we meddle in another nation’s affairs halfway around the world?

When is Iraq for Iraqis, rather than our State Department? Leaving Iraq this year may seem like a failure in the short run, but how did our coup that installed the Shah work out for us in the long run? Maybe leaving is the smartest course we can take for now.