Monday, December 12, 2011

Binocular Snapshot for 12/12/2011

LastDayWatchers "Woe unto Israel because of Manasseh for listening to the Pawn of Satan George W Bush"

In the beginning, it all looked simple: topple Saddam Hussein, destroy his purported weapons of mass destruction and lay the foundation for a pro-Western government in the heart of the Arab world

"Toppling Saddam was the easy part. Television images from the days following the March 20, 2003, start of the war made the conflict look relatively painless, like a certain type of Hollywood movie: American tanks speeding across the bleak and featureless Iraqi plains, huge blasts rattling Baghdad in the "shock and awe" bombing.

The triumphant scene of Saddam's statue falling would be replaced by new iconic images: the bodies of butchered Americans hanging from a bridge in Fallujah, military vehicles engulfed in flames, terrified hostages staring into a video camera moments before decapitation, and flag-draped caskets resting at open graves as aging parents and young widows wept for their loved ones.

For Americans back home, Iraq was not a war with morale-boosting milestones that could point to progress. No Pacific islands secured, no heroic storming of the beaches at Normandy. No newsreel scenes of grateful civilians welcoming liberators with flowers.

Instead, the war became a mind-numbing litany of suicide bombings and ambushes. "Progress" was defined by grim statistics such as fewer civilians found butchered today than yesterday. Soon it all began to sound the same, a bloody, soul-killing "Ground Hog Day" of brutality after brutality seemingly without purpose. Pacify one village, move on to another, only to have violence flare again in the first place.

Whether America's mission was truly accomplished. Saad Eskander, who heads Iraq's National Library and Archives, said the Americans created as many enemies as they have allies, and are leaving with only part of the job done."

"The high cost of the war in blood and treasure is certainly the central reason the US won't be launching any Iraq-style invasions anytime soon."

Most foreign-policy specialists say. But there are others, they add, including the perception that, despite the huge investment, Iraq was in many ways an ill-fated venture.

"The Iraq war put a great burden on the Treasury, and contributed significantly to the perilous financial situation we are in today," says James Lindsay, director of studies at the Council on Foreign Relations

One way the high financial cost of the Iraq war will shape Washington over the next generation is in spending on defense: It will limit America's options for modernizing the military.

"And that will mean ramifications well into the future, even as we need new planes, new ships, new weapons systems – all of which cost a lot of money."

Mr. Lindsay says that the "indirect" costs on US foreign policy may be even more consequential. In particular, he says, Iraq absorbed America's attention when it should have been focused.

"the war was certainly a contributor to a bad habit we have of fixating on one thing and not responding to the major global transformation."

It's likely to be a long time before a president turns to the military the way George W. Bush did.

"The idea of preventive war as a doctrine may well join the dustbin of history,"

Says Henri Barkey, a former State Department Iraq analyst now at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa.

"Even a Republican president is going to think twice and three times before launching anything close to the Iraq war."

Just as the May 15th Prophecy have proclaimed with 100% accuracy written at LastDayWatchers


"GOP candidates to insist they’d take their cue from America’s generals, but on Iran they don’t seem to be paying much heed to the consensus among the top brass — as channeled by Defense Secretaries Leon Panetta, and before him, Robert Gates — that bombing Iran would at best delay Iran’s progress by a couple of years, but at a cost of triggering a war with potentially devastating consequences throughout the Middle East, and for the world economy."