Date of Submission

Spring 2013

Academic Program

Political Studies

Project Advisor 1

David Kettler

Abstract/Artist's Statement

The War in Iraq has become the defining conflict of our time. The invasion was a swift, quick and successful operation that achieved the larger objective of removing the Saddam Hussein regime. On May 1rst, 2003, President George W. Bush boarded the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier and declared the end of major combat operations and “Operation Iraqi Freedom” was “accomplished”. Years later, Iraq remained one of the most unstable and dangerous nations in the world.

This project tells the story of a large chunk of the massive nine-year project that was the United States effort to reconstruct Iraq, the second largest in United States history, after Afghanistan, up until the arrival of General David Patraeus. It establishes that the reconstruction was indeed a failure and goes through the numerous explanations found in contemporary literature, which demonstrate why this project failed.

It ultimately finds that the flaws in the United States reconstruction in Iraq finds itself in two general categories: failure due to Iraqi structural conditions and failure due to organizations, planning and decision making. More specifically this paper looks at failure due to state breakdown, “Turf Wars”, the psychological phenomenon known as “groupthink”, and the United States military’s lack of training and preparation in counterinsurgency operations.

Distribution Options

Access restricted to On-Campus only

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

This work is protected by a Creative Commons license. Any use not permitted under that license is prohibited.

Bard Off-campus Download

Bard College faculty, staff, and students can login from off-campus by clicking on the Off-campus Download button and entering their Bard username and password.