Iraq: U.S. Regime Change Efforts and Post-Saddam Governance [Updated January 7, 2004] [open pdf - 246KB]
"Operation Iraqi Freedom accomplished a long-standing objective, the overthrow and capture of Saddam Hussein, but replacing that regime with a stable, moderate, democratic political structure has run into difficulty. Past U.S. efforts to change the regime failed because of limited U.S. commitment, disorganization of the Iraqi opposition, and the efficiency and ruthlessness of Iraq's several overlapping security services. Previous U.S. Administrations had ruled out major U.S. military action to change Iraq's regime, believing such action would be risky and not necessarily justified by the level of Iraq's lack of compliance on WMD disarmament. In his 2002 and 2003 State of the Union messages, President Bush characterized Iraq as a grave potential threat to the United States because of its refusal to verifiably abandon its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs and the potential for it to transfer WMD to terrorist groups. In September 2002, the President told the U.N. General Assembly that unless Iraq fully disarmed in cooperation with United Nations weapons inspectors, the United States would lead a coalition to achieve that disarmament militarily, making clear that this would include the ouster of Iraq's President Saddam Hussein's regime. After a November 2002 - March 2003 round of U.N. inspections in which Iraq's cooperation was mixed, on March 19, 2003 the United States launched Operation Iraqi Freedom to disarm Iraq and change its regime. The regime fell on April 9, 2003."
CRS Report for Congress, RL31339
United States. Dept. of State. Bureau of Public Affairs. Foreign Press Centers: http://fpc.state.gov/