The War after the War

Strategic Lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan

"The most incisive analysis of U.S. strategic blunders in Iraq."--Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Adviser to the President

The United States still has every chance to achieve some form of victory in Iraq and Afghanistan if it persists, commits the necessary resources, and accepts the real-world limits on what it can do. But the United States can also lose the peace in both countries as decisively as it won the wars. No one can predict how the combination of nation building, low-intensity combat, and Iraqi and Afghan efforts to recreate their nations will play out over the short term. Regardless, the United States must reshape much of its approach to both countries if it is to win even a limited form of victory. More generally, it must react to the strategic and grand strategic lessons of both conflicts to reshape its defense and foreign policy, as well as the way the U.S. government is organized to deal with terrorism and asymmetric warfare. Following up on his widely praised 2003 book, The Iraq War, Anthony Cordesman now focuses on the war after the war, the lessons to be learned from the "post-conflict" periods, and how they all fit into the broader context of the continuing war on terrorism.

Anthony H. Cordesman hold the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at CSIS and is a national security analyst for ABC News.