This volume documents both the initial mistakes and the recent changes in U.S. policy that now offer real hope of success in Iraq. Although the United States understood neither the strategic situation in Iraq, nor the value of Iraqi military, security, and police forces in fighting the growing insurgency, a series of U.S. policy changes in June 2004 may well correct these mistakes and create the kind of Iraqi forces that are vital to both Iraq's future and any successful reduction in coalition forces and eventual withdrawal from Iraq. Cordesman lays out a number of U.S. policy priorities if Iraqi forces are to be created at the required levels of strength and competence. He is convinced that pursuing the right program consistently and with the right resources can succeed in solving the security aspects of the nation-building problem in Iraq. The history of U.S. efforts in Iraq is a warning that Americans need to think about what alliance and cooperation mean in creating allied forces for nation building and warfare. What is equally clear is that Americans must understand that they have a moral and ethical responsibility to the forces they are creating.
Anthony H. Cordesman holds the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at CSIS. He is also a national security analyst for ABC News, a frequent commentator on National Public Radio and the BBC, and the author of more than 30 books on U.S. security policy, energy policy, and the Middle East.