U.S. experts reflect on strategic lessons from Iraq war (2)

16:33, September 03, 2010      

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Still, it had been many years since the United States had embarked a mission of this scale --full-on regime change -- and the Bush administration did not anticipate having to stay for that long.

"If a future president is serious about overthrowing a foreign government and replacing it with a government that we like better, it is going to be a long and costly enterprise," he said.

The war and its strategic failures have given way to an "Iraq syndrome" -- a reluctance to engage in regime change operations and post conflict stabilization and reconstruction, some analysts argued.

Americans want to move on, a sentiment mirrored in Obama' s speech on Tuesday when he jumped from the subject of Iraq to the U.S. economy, some analysts contended.

Michael E. O'Hanlon, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said the United States will in the future be less inclined to become involved in such conflicts.

Still, there may be future instances in which Washington is faced with making a decision on whether to use military force and may have few other choices but to go to war, he said.

But the most important lesson of Iraq is that planning for the after-effects of an invasion is necessary, he said.

"You can never assume that somehow order will spring up naturally out of chaos," he said.

Source: Xinhua
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