America and Iraq: 2009 and Beyond

While the debate over whether or not we should have invaded Iraq plagued the Bush Administration, it shifted for the Obama administration: When and how should the United States leave Iraq? In the midst of pressure from both sides, President Obama answered that question when the last troops left Iraq in December of 2011.

Proponents for remaining in Iraq have argued that U.S. troops left an unfinished job. Though the financial cost is large, they say, there are many other areas of spending that can afford to be cut in order to ensure the proper conditions for Iraq's future success.  In fact, the argument goes, the Iraq War was actually a rather small percentage of the U.S. deficit. Moreover, some warn that the U.S. is leaving a vulnerable Iraq right next door to Iran, one of America’s -- and Iraq's -- key adversaries. Rather, U.S. exit strategy should be centered on leaving a stable democratic government in place. Not only is this necessary to protect against Iran, but with the U.S. military gone, many believe there is a strong likelihood of the reemergence of extremist groups vying for political power. This creates the possibility of ruining strong U.S.-Iraq diplomatic relations in the future. Finally, those inclinced to keep U.S. military in Iraq express concern that U.S. departure may result in a less stable Middle East on the whole. Already facing political revolutions in Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Syria and even Saudi Arabia, further instability in the region could prove to be costly on an international scale.

On the other side, many of President Obama's supporters point to the fact that popular support for the war in America had been quickly diminishing. Some also agree that withdrawal should have been done long ago, calling to mind the reasons the 8+ year undeclared war was started in the first place.

Critics of the war have long questioned the original grounds for military escalation, namely that Saddam Hussein and his government were in possession of weapons of mass destruction. This, some say, made the war unjustified and unnecessary. Moreover, Saddam was executed in 2006, yet troops stayed in Iraq for five more years. Opponents of the war also argue against the idea of “nation building” in countries like Iraq. Rather than focus on establishing democracy abroad, American resources should focus on America, they maintain. Furthermore, they argue, Iraqi instability may take decades to resolve. And no matter how stable Iraq might be in the future, some level of instability is inevitable upon U.S. departure. Critics also point to financing the war, arguing that it is economically unviable for the United States to maintain a strong troop presence for an extended period of time.

To be sure, there are also plenty of arguments that fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. For instance, some believe that the United States should plan to be in Iraq for a much longer period, though in a reduced capacity. This type of involvement would save the United States billions of dollars and bring a large number of troops safely home, while also showing the determination and patience to help Iraq and its people through this difficult transition period. Additionally, proponents of this middle ground advocate a tiered withdrawal over a longer period of time.

The debate should not be taken lightly even though the decision has been made and the war is over. Over the next several years the world will watch Iraq as it gets back on its feet. In spite of this perpetual debate -- a debate that will likely be had for years to come -- all sides hope for a safe, free and prosperous Iraq in the future.

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Quotes on the relationship between the United States of America and Iraq from experts, military personnel, and politicians.

Commentary or Blog Post

"In April we lost Marla Ruzicka, a passionate American advocate for victims of war, and Sheikha Lameah Khaddouri al-Sakri, a member of Iraq’s National Assembly and a courageous voice for women’s rights. Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the violence of the conflict has claimed the lives of 1,214 U.S. service members and at least 21,000 Iraqi civilians as of May 1.

Under such...

"After more than a decade of war, the Army wants to replace combat vehicles worn out from millions of miles in rugged terrain in Iraq and Afghanistan or blown up by roadside bombs."

"The Pentagon's embrace of drones in Iraq and Afghanistan has created demand for them among commanders on the ground, changing the face of situational awareness."

Convinced that the Obama administration is preparing to retreat from the Middle East, Iran's Khomeinist regime is intensifying its goal of regional domination.

"According to CBO numbers in its Budget and Economic Outlook published this month, the cost of Operation Iraqi Freedom was $709 billion for military and related activities, including training of Iraqi forces and diplomatic operations. The projected cost of the stimulus, which passed in February 2009, and is expected to have a shelf life of two years, was $862 billion."

"Many are concerned that conditions could worsen in Iraq once the US military has withdrawn its forces from the country. Troops are required to leave by the end of the year and the pullout is already well underway. Hundreds of transport vehicles are currently snaking their way south towards the Kuwaiti border. Most of the troops are likely to have left the country by Christmas. Concerns are...

"This data is based on 29,083 database entries from the beginning of the war to 24 June 2012. The most recent weeks are always in the process of compilation and will rise further. The current range contains 8,542–8,845 deaths (7.9%–7.5%, a portion which may rise or fall over time) based on single-sourced reports. Graphs are based on the higher number in our totals. Gaps in recording and...

"Finally, we’re hearing concrete talk about withdrawal from Iraq. Probably this has something to do with public opinion: in a recent Gallup poll, 71 percent supported leaving Iraq in a year or less.

Most public discussions of the actual mechanics of withdrawal have emphasized how difficult it will be. Army sources, many of them, estimate that it will take time. Most reports say 12 to 20...

"Education is a fundamental human right which should be directed to the full development of the human personality. ... Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the second Millennium Development Goal (MDG) and the second Education for All (EFA) goal, the Government of Iraq is committed to ensuring that, by 2015, children everywhere in Iraq, all boys and girls alike, are able to complete...

These scenarios are on the forefront of the debate on when and how to leave Iraq. This article examines a few of the possible consequences of leaving Iraq prematurely.

Barry R. Posen lists and describes the various reasons why it is important for us to leave Iraq. He does this not on an ideological ground but rather emphasizes the inability for the Iraqi people to gather motivation to protect themselves when the United States is doing it for them.

"Nine years of United Nations economic sanctions against Iraq have created genocidal conditions and should be eliminated, Denis Halliday, a former UN official, told a Cornell audience last week."

This is an interview conducted by Katie Couric with General Odierno answering questions related to withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq.

This article offers an argument in favor of Iraq following the United States form of governance and provides a historical analysis of the consequence of following the ideology of cooperative federalism.

"The following graphic lists the ten most/least corrupt countries based on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2011. The Corruption Perception Index assigns countries and territories with scores between 0 (highly corrupt) and 10 (very clean). New Zealand tops the list as the least corrupt country, while North Korea and Somalia are all the way at the bottom."

"For Gen. James Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the possibilities of the UAV's evolution from today's design to tomorrow's vision can't come soon enough. This portends more UAVs, digital versus analog, better technology, combat-capable and cognitive functions."

"Carney's assertion raises a question: Do sanctions actually convince countries to change their behavior?"

After the 2003 invasion, control over southern Iraq was handed over to British forces. Without adequate troops to protect the population, security in Basra deteriorated, the British withdrew and Shiite militias took control.

Our unequivocal finding -- that it was in America's interest to quickly end the military occupation -- was, at the time, dramatically at variance with the conventional wisdom, which presumed that the United States must remain in Iraq 'as long as necessary.'

O'Hanlon and Gildroy discuss the policies of McCain and Obama on Iraq, and argue that a combination of the two policies would be most effective.

"The Iraq war has become one of the most polarizing issues in American politics. Most Democrats, including Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.), want large, early troop cuts; most Republicans, including Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), want U.S. troops to stay until Iraq's stability is guaranteed. Years of bad news from the front have hardened these divisions along partisan lines and embittered many on...

"ON the morning of May 6, 1783, Guy Carleton, the British commander charged with winding down the occupation of America, boarded the Perseverance and sailed up the Hudson River to meet George Washington and discuss the British withdrawal. Washington was furious to learn that Carleton had sent ships to Canada filled with Americans, including freed slaves, who had sided with Britain during the...

This article relates Britain's past involvement in Iraq to that of the United States.

"Sunni insurgency, Sunni-Shia sectarian violence, al Qaeda terror - Iraq doesn't need more problems. But it has one that too often gets overlooked: It's quickly becoming the latest battlefield in the proxy war between the Middle East's rising powers, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The Saudis are (mostly) Sunni Arabs, while the Iranians are (largely) Shiite Persians - and each seeks to dominate...

"Iraq would be drastically affected should Iran block the Hormuz Strait. Most of the oil Iraq produces is exported via the Strait. The scenario is seeing Iraq, distinct because of its good relations with both the US and Iran, practice its new diplomacy again."

Abdell investigates the different factors that may become problematic in a post-war Iraq, including:

- "Reemergence of the quasi-defeated extremist groups, namely, AQI, Jaysh al-Islami, the Promised Day Brigade, Kata’ib Hizbollah, and Asaeb Ahl al-Haq."

- "Rekindling of sectarian violence and lawlessness that engulfed Iraq before (05-07)."

- "Precipitating the war...

John Paul Rossi describes the similarities between the Iraq and Vietnam wars. Rossi writes, "Although the final chapter on the Iraq War is yet to be written, the Vietnam experience suggests that exiting the Iraq quagmire poses serious challenges."

The agreement marks the passage of the first of the legislative benchmarks, a series of goals the U.S. government had once championed but largely ceased advocating publicly after months of delay, frustration and inaction.

Nevertheless, let us hope that Iraqis take advantage of the opportunity they now enjoy. It will take enormous statesmanship and restraint to accommodate those of different faiths and ethnicities, forgive past crimes committed by Sunni and Shia forces, eschew violence for retaliation and revenge, resolve even bitter disagreements peacefully, and accept political defeat without resort to arms.

"How did the economy do so well in the 1960s, and so badly in the 2000s, when less than half as much of our resources were devoted to defense in that more recent term? The questions are rhetorical. Defense spending, and the Iraq War in particular, was not the cause of our economic problems. I don't care if you hear it from James Carville, Ron Paul, or a Nobel Prize-winning economist. It is a...

"The first phase of the Iraq Wars came to a dramatic—and ominously prophetic—denouement on that heady day in April 2003 when U.S. Marines stormed into central Baghdad and pulled down a statue of Saddam Hussein that the local citizenry couldn't quite manage to topple.

Several months later, James Turner Johnson, our foremost historian of the just-war tradition, wisely observed that...

Former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger analyzes the potential options for exiting Iraq and the some of the consequences of each. He does so by comparing the current situation in Iraq to the situation the U.S. faced in Vietnam.

"The record of past U.S. experience in democratic nation building is daunting. The low rate of success is a sobering reminder that these are among the most difficult foreign policy ventures for the United States. Of the sixteen such efforts during the past century, democracy was sustained in only four cases ten years after the departure of U.S. forces. Two of these followed the total defeat...

The Iraq War was one of the key issues in the 2008 presidential election. In this article, McCain argues that the U.S. cannot abandon the mission in Iraq. To do so would be costly, both for the United States and for Iraq.

Klinghoffer cites numerous examples relating the situation in Iraq to that of Europe in the 1930s.

Writing two years before U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, Carpenter argues:

"Experts both in the United States and in Iraq worry that the relative calm that Iraq has enjoyed since mid-2007 might not last once US troops depart. Indeed, there are serious questions about whether Iraq can be a viable state over the long run. If Iraq becomes a cockpit of instability again, as it was during the...

Max Boot argues that a long-term troop presence in Iraq, "100 years", may be necessary to ensure stability in the region.

"The ability to visit a foreign country without the cost and hassle of obtaining a visa is a welcome bonus for any traveller. It is also a barometer of a country's international alliances and relations. A report released on August 25th by Henley & Partners, a consultancy, shows that Britons have the fewest visa restrictions of the 190-odd countries (and territories) for which data are...

Iraqi security forces have made great strides in improving their effectiveness and are increasingly confident that they can shoulder the bulk of the security burden.

"One in three U.S. veterans of the post-9/11 military believes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were not worth fighting, and a majority think that after 10 years of combat America should be focusing less on foreign affairs and more on its own problems, according to an opinion survey released Wednesday.

The findings highlight a dilemma for the Obama administration and Congress as they...

"In a New Year address to Vatican diplomats, the Pope said war was 'always a defeat for humanity', and called instead for more diplomacy and dialogue. War cannot be decided upon, even when it is a matter of ensuring the common good, except as the very last option."

"It is no secret that since the emergence of Iraq as a Shiite state after the invasion of the United States, there has been a major battle between Iran and Saudi Arabia for a new balance of power in the Middle East.

In its simplest form this is a battle between Sunni and Shiite forces in Iraq. The more complicated version is a proxy war in Lebanon, where Saudi Arabia supports Sunni...

"In the seemingly poisoned atmosphere of American politics, President Obama’s directive to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq by December is a rare example of a broadly popular policy decision — fully 78 percent of all Americans support the decision in the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The decision to effectively end the war next month has been a long time coming for the public,...

"As the 2012 State of the Union approaches, the public continues to give the highest priority to economic issues. Fully 86% say that strengthening the economy should be a top priority for the president and Congress this year, and 82% rate improving the job situation as a top priority. None of the other 20 issues tested in this annual survey rate as a top priority for more than 70% of Americans...

"Many around the world are disappointed with our actions. And many in our own country have come to doubt either our wisdom or our capacity to shape events beyond our borders. Some have even suggested that America’s time has passed.

But while we know what we have lost as a consequence of this tragic war, I also know what I have found in my travels over the past two years."

"Next month will mark the sixth anniversary of the war in Iraq. By any measure, this has already been a long war. For the men and women of America’s armed forces – and for your families – this war has been one of the most extraordinary chapters of service in the history of our nation. You have endured tour after tour after tour of duty. You have known the dangers of combat and the lonely...

"Mr. Speaker, how did the 20-year war get started? It had been long assumed that the United States government, shortly before Iraq invaded Kuwait in August of 1990, gave Saddam Hussein a green light to attack. A State Department cable recently published by Wikileaks confirmed that US Ambassador April Glaspie did indeed have a conversation with Saddam Hussein one week prior to Iraq’s August 1st...

This article discusses the legitimacy given to the new democratic government in Iraq by the international community and surrounding issues.

"When strong governments wish to impose their will on weaker regimes, they often resort to sanctions. The effects have included the death or debilitation of millions of innocent people. Two good examples are Cuba, on which draconian U.S. sanctions have been enforced since 1960, and Iraq, where brutal sanctions were enforced from 1990 to 2003.

In 1959 the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista...

"Over the Past Five Years, Iraq has become one of the most divisive and polarizing issues in modern American history. It is now a subject on which Republicans and Democrats tend to disagree fundamentally about the past (the reasons for going to war), the present (the impact of the 'surge' in American forces), and the future of American policy (how quickly, and in what way, American forces...

"Establishment critics of the war on Iraq restricted their comments regarding the attack to the administration arguments they took to be seriously intended: disarmament, deterrence, and links to terrorism. They scarcely made reference to liberation, democratization of the Middle East, and other matters that would render irrelevant the weapons inspections and indeed everything that took place...

"In one of the most egregious violations of the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech seen in quite some time, Tarek Menanna, an American Muslim, was convicted this week in a federal court in Boston and then sentenced yesterday to 17 years in prison. He was found guilty of supporting Al Qaeda (by virtue of translating Terrorists' documents into English and expressing 'sympathetic views'...

"Military commanders and intelligence officers are pushing for greater authority to conduct covert operations to thwart Iranian influence in neighboring Iraq, according to U.S. officials."

"One of the more extreme government abuses of the post-9/11 era targets U.S. citizens re-entering their own country, and it has received far too little attention. With no oversight or legal framework whatsoever, the Department of Homeland Security routinely singles out individuals who are suspected of no crimes, detains them and questions them at the airport, often for hours, when they return...

The U.S. Army wants to purchase nearly 1,900 infantry combat vehicles for an estimated $20 billion to replace an aging Bradley fleet that’s been vulnerable to roadside-bomb attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The UAE has decided to waive Iraq's debt of $5.8 billion (Dh21.29 billion) and backs holding the next Arab summit in Baghdad, Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan announced."

"The US government has long maintained, reasonably enough, that a defining tactic of terrorism is to launch a follow-up attack aimed at those who go to the scene of the original attack to rescue the wounded and remove the dead. Morally, such methods have also been widely condemned by the west as a hallmark of savagery. Yet, as was demonstrated yet again this weekend in Pakistan, this has...

"Iraq’s postelection process of forming a new government has been troubled and drawn-out. Now, American officials are openly questioning the impact on US-Iraq relations."

"In a letter to President Bush, the Ohio Republican said the president should adopt a policy of 'responsible military disengagement with a corresponding increase [in] non-military support' to help the United States achieve a stable and democratic Iraq, although Voinovich warned that the window of opportunity for enacting such a plan is limited."

"The US is finally withdrawing from Iraq. But what has been the cost to America of the war?"

In fact, neither liberals nor conservatives truly support the brave men and women who risk their lives to defend America.

"In case you were wondering who exactly is in this 'large' coalition of countries in Iraq, I made a pie chart showing the top 10 countries just to give myself a little visual representation of the contributors to the war."

Chart or Graph

"As Table K.7 shows, the amount of power supplied by these three privately owned plants has increased sharply over the past three years, contributing to a quadrupling of electricity supply in the Kurdistan Region from July 2008 to July 2011."

"Figure 4.14 shows the monthly and 12-month rolling national averages for [Iraqi] electricity supply and demand from January 2009 through July 2011."

"The main cause of death has been improvised explosive devices, roadside bombs which have also caused problems for forces in Afghanistan."

The number of deaths per month nationwide is down to January 2006 levels, at about 600 per month. The numbers peaked in December 2006, with about 3,000 deaths per month.

"The war in Iraq has cost the US $823.2bn since 2003 - and in 2011 cost $49.3bn, only $4bn less than 2003 when the invasion happened."

"When asked which country represents the greatest danger to the U.S., more Americans volunteer Iran (28%) than name any other country, though nearly as many (22%) name China."

"The following graphic lists the ten most/least corrupt countries based on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2011. The Corruption Perception Index assigns countries and territories with scores between 0 (highly corrupt) and 10 (very clean)."

This graph shows the decrease in high profile attacks since the peak of roughly 130 a month. This could be foreshadowing for a more stable Iraq.

"Table K.5 lists some of the major [oil] firms operating in the Kurdistan Region, as of September 30, 2011, and the number of licenses they possess."

"As Table K.1 shows, Iraqis, both Kurd and Arab, are the leading investors in the region, committing more than $12 billion to licensed projects there since August 2006. The housing sector leads with the greatest number of projects (at least 104), followed by industry and trade."

"The recent tensions over Iran’s nuclear program and disputes between the U.S. and Iran in the Persian Gulf have garnered a good deal of public attention."

"The CoR’s alternative draft law would decentralize important powers over Iraq’s oil resources, especially to the Kurdistan Region. For crude oil production and export levels since 2003, see Figure 4.11."

"As of September 30, 2011, $182.27 billion had been made available for the relief and reconstruction of Iraq through three main sources...."

Sadly, these are elements that the press ignore as they force upon the citizenry a picture in Iraq that looks eerily similar to Vietnam in the late '60s and early '70s despite the factual differences.

"At least 200 people were killed and over 560 injured in violent incidents over the course of the month. Of the dozens of recorded attacks over a third targeted civilians. However, it was the security forces who bore the brunt of the violence. Over half of all the attacks targeted either the Iraqi police or military."

"Iraq’s nascent stock exchange continued to buck a regional trend this quarter, rising slightly as the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Pan Arab Composite Index of equity markets in 11 other Middle East and North Africa nations fell."

This chart tracks the deaths attributable to the Iraq War, breaking the data down into civilian and military deaths.

This poll taken just prior to U.S. withdrawal from Iraq shows bipartisan support for President Obama's decision.

"One in five Iraqis aged over 15 years is illiterate. Illiteracy rates among women (28%) are over double those among men (12%)."

"On July 25, 2009, the Kurdistan Region held elections for the second time since 2003, choosing a president and all 111 members of the IKP."

"The semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region, though an integral part of the federal Iraqi state, is distinct from—and, in many ways, more successful than—the rest of the country. Most fundamentally, the region is secure."

"The United States has appropriated or otherwise made available $61.83 billion for Iraq reconstruction efforts since 2003, primarily through five major funds.... Figure 1.2 shows current and requested funds that may be used for new projects from the five major funds."

"The number of security incidents per day and the number of casualties in Iraq have decreased since the ISF took the lead in security operations after the signing of the U.S.-Iraq Security Agreement. For monthly security incidents and civilian fatalities since January 2004, see Figure 4.6."

"Figure 4.2 provides a status of funding and descriptions of major completed and ongoing activities for these [Iraqi] programs."

"According to DoS’s 'Country Report on Terrorism 2010,' the number of terrorist attacks in Iraq dropped by more than 10% from 2009 to 2010. But as a percentage of all attacks worldwide, violence in Iraq increased by more than 5%. Table 4.5 shows attacks since 2006."

"Although the lack of a recent census prevents a clear picture of demographic shifts, nongovernmental organizations estimate that Iraq’s ethnic and religious minorities make up no more than 3% of the population. See Table 4.2 for descriptions of Iraq’s minority communities and population estimates."

"Table K.6 summarizes additional quality-of-life indicators for the Kurdistan Region."

"For a comparison of Iraq’s real GDP and consumer price growth rates with those of other Middle East and North Africa oil-exporting nations, see Figure 4.8."

"For a timeline of U.S. troop withdrawal, see Figure 4.5."

"Table K.3 shows some of the largest internationally funded projects in the [Kurdistan] region since 2009."

"Iraqi casualty totals this quarter were about the same as those seen during April 1–June 19, 2011."

"The SIGIR Investigations Directorate continues to actively pursue allegations of fraud, waste, and abuse in Iraq, with 101 active investigations as of September 30, 2011."

"The CBI reported a rise in foreign currency reserves to $58 billion this quarter, an increase of 26% from the beginning of 2011. For trends of key economic indicators, see Figure 4.10."

This timeline summarizes the major events in the history of Kurds in modern Iraq.

"For a list of the top contractors and grantees in Iraq, see Table 3.4."

"As of September 30, 2011, UNHCR had registered 121,507 Iraqi refugees in Syria and 33,753 Iraqi refugees in Jordan, though estimates of the actual numbers of Iraqi refugees residing in both countries are much greater."

U.S. defense spending soared in 2009, with or without the extra expense of the Iraqi war.

"As of September 30, 2011, $182.27 billion had been made available for the relief and reconstruction of Iraq through three main sources...."

"As of September 2010, the United States had committed approximately $871.62 million to reconstruction efforts in the Kurdistan Region."

"What has been the cost to US forces of the war in Iraq? As operations come to an end, we map the casualties in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn so far."

"The Pew survey found that veterans are ambivalent about the net value of the wars, although they generally were more positive about Afghanistan, which has been a more protracted but less deadly conflict for U.S. forces."

"The ability to visit a foreign country without the cost and hassle of obtaining a visa is a welcome bonus for any traveller."

"The chart shows the top 10 list of the members with the number and percentage of troops per country in Iraq."

Analysis Report White Paper

Iraq's largely state-run economy is dominated by the oil sector, which provides more than 90% of government revenue and 80% of foreign exchange earnings.

Foreign policy experts and policy analysts are misreading the lessons of Iraq. The emerging conventional wisdom holds that success could have been achieved in Iraq with more troops, more cooperation among U.S. government agencies, and better counterinsurgency doctrine.

"It is time to ask a fundamental question that few in an official or political position in the United States seem willing to ask. Has it been a terrible error for the United States to have built an all but irreversible worldwide system of a thousand or more military bases, stations and outposts?

This system has been created to enhance American national security, but what if it has...

Experts both in the United States and in Iraq worry that the relative calm that Iraq has enjoyed since mid-2007 might not last once US troops depart. Indeed, there are serious questions about whether Iraq can be a viable state over the long run.

With mounting evidence showing that the Bush Administration's surge policy has made significant military progress, the congressional debate has shifted to focus on the need for political progress toward national reconciliation in Iraq.

Sixty days from now, the mission of the U.S. Forces-Iraq will come to an end. This historic moment will close the books on nearly nine years of U.S. military engagement in Iraq. This moment also inaugurates a new phase in the strategic partnership between the United States and Iraq.

Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration's miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily 'victory' but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with.

Video/Podcast/Media

"The United States pledges to defend our NATO allies under Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty. Why, and in what ways, do the allies reciprocate? Jason Davidson will present evidence from his unique analysis of transatlantic burden-sharing to explain why Britain, France, and Italy provide or refuse military support for U.S.-led uses of force. Sixty original interviews with top policymakers...

Mr. Korb discusses the exit strategy for Iraq proposed by President Obama and why it will be successful.

"Acclaimed writer and political scholar Christopher Hitchens may just be the only writer to have recently visited Iran, Iraq and North Korea. Hitchens - known for his keen wit, sharp political insight and often controversial opinions - examines the differences between the countries once linked as the 'axis of evil,' while revealing intriguing connections between the nations."

"When President Barack Obama cited cost as a reason to bring troops home from Afghanistan, he referred to a $1 trillion price tag for America's wars.

Staggering as it is, that figure grossly underestimates the total cost of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan to the U.S. Treasury and ignores more imposing costs yet to come, according to a study released on Wednesday.

The final...

Jim Phillips, a Fellow in Middle Eastern Affairs at The Heritage Foundation, lays out the facts as to how America must act in Iraq in 2008.

Bolton sees a power shift in the Middle East that would be fundamental, calamitous, and irreversible should Iran get nuclear weapons.

"In an attempt to display his statesmanship potential, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney wades into deep foreign policy waters discussing Iraq, North Korea and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin."

"After Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, the United Nations (backed strongly by the US and UK) imposed harsh sanctions on Iraq that lasted for 10 years (1991-2001); the harsh restrictions on imports of everything, including access to key medicines, resulted in over a million deaths, more than half a million of which were women and children. That’s more deaths than the two atomic bombs dropped on...

Representative Sestak proposes ideas on how we can remove our forces from Iraq safely, while making historical references to other exit strategies that resulted in casualties.

U.S. Congressman (R-TX) and self-professed libertarian Ron Paul gives his thoughts on foreign policy and the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

Research Fellow Jim Phillips explains why Congress needs to consider the implications of a rapid troop withdrawal from Iraq.

Preble argues (in 2007) that the surge in Iraq is doing little to create the environment needed for political reconciliation. As talk of withdrawal takes place now, it's an interesting position to look at.

Primary Document

"Once known as Mesopotamia, Iraq was the site of flourishing ancient civilizations, including the Sumerian, Babylonian, and Parthian cultures. Muslims conquered Iraq in the seventh century A.D. In the eighth century, the Abassid caliphate established its capital at Baghdad. The territory of modern Iraq came under the rule of the Ottoman Turks early in the 1500s."

General David Petraeus analyzes how success was achieved in Iraq, where the U.S. stands now, and what the future holds.

The new law replaces the earlier framework governing Iraq's De-Ba'athification policies, and is the culmination of an epic struggle between De-Ba'athification opponents and supporters lasting more than eighteen months.

Our national conversation about Iraq needs more realism, and more focus on the future rather than the past. We need to refocus on our original goal - a stable Iraq that does not threaten its neighbors, develop WMD, export terrorism, or terrorize its own people.

This report to Congress, Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq, is submitted pursuant to Section 9204 of the Supplemental Appropriations Act for 2008, Public Law 110-252.

This analysis underscores the importance of leaving Iraq as a stable democratic society.

"On New Year’s Day 2012, the U.S. relief and reconstruction mission in Iraq will enter a new phase. Under the guiding polestar of the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement, the deining characteristic of this new phase will be the State Department’s complete responsibility for the full constellation of continuing eforts to assist the Iraqi government’s economic, security, and governance...

This report on the implementation of Department of Defense Directive 3000.05 is provided as requested by House Report 109-452 accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007.

Senator McCain expresses his disagreement with the proposed plan by Senator Feingold to withdraw troops from Iraq.

This site provides an extensive archive of the speeches delivered at the Democratic National Convention of 2008, sorted by speaker or topic.

Mr. Boot describes various proposed exit strategies for Iraq and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of these options.

The U.S. Army plans to spend about an additional $34 billion in 2013 dollars to develop and purchase a new armored vehicle for its infantry, the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV).

"In April 2009, then-Secretary of Defense Gates announced he intended to significantly restructure the Army's Future Combat System (FCS) program. The FCS was a multiyear, multibillion dollar program that had been underway since 2000 and was at the heart of the Army's transformation efforts. In lieu of the cancelled FCS manned ground vehicle (MGV), the Army was directed to develop a ground...

This is an analysis of where Republican and Democratic candidates stood on the issue of Iraq prior to the 2008 election.

Belasco gives an incredibly thorough and specific picture of how America's defense spending is allocated.

"Unmanned aircraft are commonly called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and when combined with ground control stations and data links, form UAS, or unmanned aerial systems."

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