Iraqi Force Development
August 23, 2006
Experts disagree on many aspects of the Iraq War, including the ways which American strategic mistakes led to the initial failures in creating effective Iraqi military, security, and police forces. There is little disagreement, however, over the fact the US should have done more in its invasion planning, during the invasion, and in the year that followed, to conduct stability operations, nation building, and establish security.
There is also broad agreement among most analysts who have examined the way in which the US went to war in Iraq, and dealt with its Coalition allies and Iraqi exile groups, that the US failed to anticipate the threat of terrorism and insurgency. The Bush Administration planned for success. It did not accurately assess the problems an invasion would create in political, economic, social, and religious terms. It ignored warnings about the risk of ethnic and sectarian divisions, the need for large forces to secure the country, and the risk of “postwar” terrorism and insurgency. It saw the removal of Saddam Hussein as enough of a grand strategic goal, and did not see the need for a massive effort at stability operations and nation building.