Iraq elections: another failed turning point?

Dilip Hiro predicts in the Asia Times that this weekends Iraqi poll will be the latest milestone to turn into a cul-de-sac.

Starting with Saddam Hussein’s arrest in December 2003, each of Washington’s rosy scenarios – in which a diminution of violence is predicted and a path to success declared – has turned to dust. These include the transfer of sovereignty to Iraqis last June 28, the "Iraqification" of the country’s security apparatus (an ongoing theme), and the recapture of Fallujah, described as the prime font of the Sunni insurgency, last November.

It’s certainly been a grim week for the US so far with the highest one day casualty count on Wednesday and news of a $75 billion funding request from Congress. This from the Financial Times:

The scale of the request which brings to $100bn the additional funding in the fiscal year ending in September is likely to renew the debate on whether the US can sustain its efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The cost of the war in Iraq is now certain to surpass the top estimate of former White House economic adviser Larry Lindsey, who was ousted before the war was launched in 2003 for saying it could cost as much as $200bn.

It looks likes Lindsey will be as fully vindicated as the famous General Shinseki. This from the New York Times of February 2003:

Mr. Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, opened a two-front war of words on Capitol Hill, calling the recent estimate by Gen. Eric K. Shinseki of the Army that several hundred thousand troops would be needed in postwar Iraq, "wildly off the mark." Pentagon officials have put the figure closer to 100,000 troops. Mr. Wolfowitz then dismissed articles in several newspapers this week asserting that Pentagon budget specialists put the cost of war and reconstruction at $60 billion to $95 billion in this fiscal year. He said it was impossible to predict accurately a war’s duration, its destruction and the extent of rebuilding afterward.






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