Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience   [open pdf - 3MB]

"Hard Lessons, the first comprehensive account of the Iraq reconstruction effort, reviews in detail the United States' rebuilding program, shedding light on why certain programs worked while others fell short of goals. Beginning with the prewar planning process, Hard Lessons traces the development of reconstruction policy from its modest initial scope to its rapid expansion during the summer of 2003 under the Coalition Provisional Authority's aegis. The report chronicles the difficult challenges that confronted the reconstruction program as Iraq slipped into the grip of a deadly insurgency during 2005 and 2006. Reconstruction officials responded by moving large sums of money into security programs, which ultimately consumed over half of the $50 billion in U.S. appropriations. Increasing conflict in Iraq required a new military strategy-counterinsurgency-and a new plan-the surge-the success of which, seen in 2007, brought violence down to levels not seen since the March 2003 invasion. The salutary development finally allowed reconstruction projects to proceed relatively unimpeded. But by 2008, most of the $50 billion was spend. U.S. efforts not focused on helping Iraq better expend its own resources on the country's continuing national recovery. Hard Lessons concludes with 13 lessons drawn from 6 difficult years of Iraq reconstruction. Virtually all the leadership interviewed by SIGIR for this report agreed that the U.S. approach to contingency relief and reconstruction operations needs reform. The lessons documented in this report could help guide reform in this critical area, so that the hard lessons learned from the Iraq reconstruction experience become lessons applied and not lessons lost."

Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction: http://www.sigir.mil/
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