Two months after the fall of Baghdad, the critical task of postwar rebuilding and governance of most Iraqi cities remains in the hands of U.S. military personnel, almost all of whom lack expertise in government administration and familiarity with the Arab world.
Some current and former U.S. officials involved in the reconstruction effort contend that the failure to more quickly include civilian reconstruction specialists in the postwar occupation has delayed resumption of local government operations and led to resentment among the nearly 20 million Iraqis who live outside the capital.
"The reliance on the military has been a mistake," a senior U.S. official here said. "You need civilians in an operation like this. This is both a political and a military operation. We need to emphasize the political dimension more."
The U.S. military may be capable of defeating Iraq or other rogue states in war, with or without the assistance of allies. It is less clear that the U.S. can win the peace after war, if it limits its wartime objectives, empowers others with the initiative, or fails to act now to develop the doctrine which would be necessary for success.
American failure to achieve coordination of political, military and allied policy was to haunt the United States for years, especially in the 1948 Berlin crisis, and ultimately in the division of Germany until 1991.
Best New Blog finalist - 2003 Koufax Awards
A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.
Lo alecha ha-m'lacha ligmor, v'lo atah ben chorin l'hibateyl mimenah.