Reconstructing Iraq: Insights, Challenges, and Missions for Military Forces in a Post-Conflict Scenario   [open pdf - 263KB]

During the latter half of the 20th century, U.S. military leaders and planners focused heavily on winning wars, and not so much on the peacekeeping or nation-building that comes afterwards. But national objectives can often be accomplished only after the fighting has ceased. With the winds of war swirling around Iraq, it is time to begin planning for the post-conflict reconstruction of that state. This monograph presents some historical insights from past occupations and peace operations, provides some additional analysis of the unique requirements involved in remaking Iraq, and, most importantly, develops a detailed list of potential tasks to help contemporary military commanders plan for post-conflict operations there. Most analysts and commentators focus on World War II for insights about occupying states and replacing regimes. Clearly, the American experience with occupations after major wars provides valuable insights about the importance of long and detailed planning for such missions, and about just how difficult demilitarization and democratization can be, even under the best of conditions. The world has changed a great deal since 1945, however. The experiences of the 1990s are generally more relevant to shape post-conflict operations in Iraq. They reveal past inadequacies in Army planning and preparation, and the difficulties in finding competent and resourced civilian agencies to assume responsibilities from the military. Recent experiences also show that even when the Army plans and performs well in a post-crisis environment, as it did in Haiti, strategic success is not guaranteed. That state quickly reverted back to chaos when military forces left.

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