I'm not sure what the point here is. Brooks leads his column with a pretty big claim: that the Iraq war will devastate international governments for years to come. But then, rather than backing up said claim, he proceeds to write a glowing review of a book called Brave New War by John Robb which posits rightly that many insurgent movements are techno-savvy, decentralized, viral creatures who seek instability for survival. Brooks' big point seems to be here:
If the Iraqi insurgents defeat the U.S. then every bad guy on earth will study and learn their techniques. The people now running for president will find themselves in bigger heaps of trouble than the current one now is — trouble that this presidential campaign hasn’t even dealt with.
This is sort of bizarre. It neglects the fact that Iraq is not the first country or region to be successfully overrun by insurgents, and that the insurgents of the future have many, many playbooks to learn from. The fact that Iraq isn't entirely unique is a sad fact, but it's a fact nonetheless. And America's and other countries' governments have found ways to get on in the world without being "destroyed" by the fact that there are modern-era warlorded regions of the planet. The thesis is pretty simple: If you don't get mired in a fight in a situation like the one in Iraq, you won't find yourself overcome by a situation like the one in Iraq. At no point, though, does Brooks consider that daring idea.