I was ten years old when the United States invaded Iraq to overthrow a tyrant, eradicate a terrorist organization, and destroy an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. Thirteen years later there are still United States soldiers fighting in Iraq. The name of the war has changed over the last thirteen years, but the reality is that I have lived more years of my life with U.S. soldiers in Iraq than years without. The failed effort to rebuild Iraq after the 2003 invasion illustrates a larger incoherence of the United States foreign policy after conflict. There are valuable lessons to be learned from this failure because this is surely not the last time the United States finds itself in a it did at the turn of the millennium. The threat of failed and weak states did not end in 2011, nor will it end when the so-called Islamic State is defeated. Failed states pose a threat to the interests and security of the United States. Understanding the shortfalls of Operation Iraqi Freedom can help policymakers to address that threat in the future. This paper will analyze and discuss the reconstruction of Iraq in three components: The first is to emphasize the importance of this analysis by establishing failed and weak states as a threat to the security of the United States. The second is to identify and assess the ends, ways, and means of rebuilding Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Finally, the third facet is to determine what lessons can be learned for that effort, and how they apply to U.S. foreign policy going forward. In short, this paper finds that failed states are in fact a threat to U.S. national security and should be treated as such in strategic planning. Furthermore, the original sin of the Iraq War was a failure to match sufficient ways and means towards the ends established at the beginning of the war. Finally, the lessons learned from the reconstruction in Iraq underline the need for the United States to implement a strategic process for addressing the threats of weak states to international security and stability.
Clark, Andrew F.
"Putting Humpty Dumpty Back Together Again: Lessons Learned From State-Building in Iraq,"
Pepperdine Policy Review: Vol. 9
, Article 5.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/ppr/vol9/iss1/5