Revisions in Need of Revising: What Went Wrong in the Iraq War

  • December 01, 2005
  • Dr David C Hendrickson, Dr Robert W Tucker

Though critics have made a number of telling points against the Bush administration's conduct of the Iraq war, the most serious problems facing Iraq and its American occupiers—criminal anarchy and lawlessness, a raging insurgency and a society divided into rival and antagonistic groups—were virtually inevitable consequences that flowed from the act of war itself. Military and civilian planners were culpable in failing to plan for certain tasks, but the most serious problems had no good solution. Even so, there are lessons to be learned. These include the danger that the imperatives of "force protection" may sacrifice the broader political mission of U.S. forces and the need for skepticism over the capacity of outsiders to develop the skill and expertise required to reconstruct decapitated states.