I am in full support of a total withdrawal, and here's the way I see things shaking down..
We don't necessarily have to simply cut and run, so what we have to do is what the NDP (in particular) have been suggesting all along- define a few things, accomplish them and get out- and none of this "ensure that a perfectly stable democracy is formed" because, as much as progressive types like myself get called "crazy" (or moonbats or whatever) the idea that ANY occupying force can somehow instal a palatable, stable-for-the-ages government of any kind is sheer lunacy, and I think that is where a lot of the "heat" comes from on the left- the idea that we are somehow going to build an Arab Canada or US over there in Afghanistan OR Iraq is totally ridiculous and downright impossible, and I think that any thinking person of any political stripe would have to admit that...
SO we have to get a list of do-able things, make a timeline, inform the local "government" of our intentions and then follow through- in our case, with Afghanistan., this should be possible by the end of the year.. (and I think from here on, I'm gonna focus on Canada in Afghanistan just to I can avoid making too many similar-yet-different points)
The completely unstable nature of the country even at this moment will NOT change too much, even in the face of a full pullout- right now, the Taliban are gaining strength every day in the south, and violence against the occupation forces continues, while the "elected government" is full of warlords-
I think that if/when the "coalition" pulls out, be it in 2 months, years or decades, there WILL be a power struggle, out of which there will eventually be a new "system" formed... this is inevitable unless the west indeed wants to turn the country into a colony, in which case keeping permanent bases full of military hardware and troops would have to be maintained in order to continue to impose the artificially created "status quo" (which is, in essence, what is happening right now)
SO if the western powers are TRULY interested in a self-governed country, a full pullout is pretty much the only way, however I think that there is no-one among us who knows the true reasons for the mission (and I mean the REAL reasons, not any of the ones I've seen posted so far, here or anywhere else- there are a lot of things that I'm sure are factors, but I am sure I don't know the ACTUAL reason and I would bet that no-one here knows for sure either)
There would be collateral damage, but there's lots of warlords with centuries-old loyalties, centuries old grudges and a lot of warriors in their influence- it might not be the "way better" country we are supposedly trying to build, but I am pretty ocnfident that it would not be much worse, and the power struggle would likely last a lot less time than the current" mission" is looking like it will take....
And as for the future, I have no problem having diplomatic relations, sending aid and aid workers and encouraging stability once the dust clears (which it most certainly will) but if we are doing what we are supposedly doing over there right now, it'll never happen