Post-Conflict Iraq Prospects and Problems; Center for Contemporary Conflict, February 13, 2003
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The current American discourse on prospective war with Iraq includes open discussion of military occupation to an uncommon degree. American strategic discourse typically focuses on war fighting and tends to be much less concerned about post-conflict peace building. Wide-spread belief that war with Iraq is a foregone conclusion may account for the unusual willingness of policymakers to discuss what comes after. Or perhaps Americans have come to appreciate the difficulties of post-conflict peace building in the Balkans and elsewhere. Iraq is rich is resources and human resourcefulness and--here is a good start--Iraq is already a nation. Still, occupying a nation America has defeated twice and made to suffer through years of sanctions, situated in the midst of a region seething with anti-Americanism, is a problem. This document addresses a number of questions: In a post-Saddam Iraq, will the United States provide that tyranny? Will the people of Iraq be slow to take up arms and unable to agree amongst and govern themselves? And, if occupation is to become liberation, i.e., democratization, how do we get there? In addressing these questions, the author makes the following basic arguments: 1) this war will be unlike the previous war America fought with Iraq; 2) despite optimistic talk of a quick draw-down, it is prudent to expect a large military footprint into the post-conflict period; and 3) the Bush administration has declared an ambitious agenda but has yet to demonstrate a commitment to apply the necessary means to achieve that goal.
This article appeared in Strategic Insights, July 1, 2002
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