War in Iraq: Planning and Execution

War in Iraq: Planning and Execution

War in Iraq: Planning and Execution

War in Iraq: Planning and Execution


This volume provides a collection of insightful essays on all phases of the Iraq War: both US-led major combat operations to defeat the Ba'athist regime as well as efforts to reconstruct the country and defeat the insurgency.

Written by leading scholars on the Iraq War, many of whom have practical first-hand experience of the war, the book includes a Conclusion by leading US strategic thinker Eliot Cohen. This is the first work on the Iraq War to incorporate an understanding of the Iraqi side of the war, based on a systematic analysis of captured Iraqi archives.

War in Iraq will be of great interest to students of the Iraq War, small wars and insurgencies, international security and strategic studies in general.


A book on a war still underway must accept a number of limitations. Many of its aspects remain secret or unknowable. More broadly, we lack the perspective necessary to judge which events or issues will retain their importance in the longer term. Yet the value of understanding more about the war in Iraq, underway for more than three years as these words are written, argues for analysis, imperfect though it may be, of what has occurred. The war’s outcome is far from clear at this point, with even its name being uncertain, beyond the term “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” Analysis of the war has nevertheless begun both within and outside of the U.S. and allied military forces, and this volume seeks to add to that examination.

The book has as its focus the planning and execution of U.S. and coalition military operations from 2003 until the summer of 2006. Its chapters focus on the military aspects of the war rather than the reasons for it or the debate in the United States or abroad about its rationale or prosecution. That said, our scope extends well beyond the actions of the U.S. Defense Department. As the individual chapters make clear, an understanding of warfare in Iraq requires a clear understanding of the several elements of national power.

The authors of the chapters in this volume bring a great deal of credibility to their analyses. Most are, or have been, active duty military officers, many of whom served in Iraq in planning or operational positions, and thus speak with first hand experience. And although their criticisms are often severe, they include specific recommendations of what systems need adjustment and suggestions for undertaking those adjustments in doctrine and planning.

Although this book’s thirteen chapters look at a number of aspects of the war, the present volume’s scope is nowhere complete. First, excluding the two chapters on the Saddam Hussein regime’s planning and execution of the 2003 Iraq War and the chapter on the Iraqi insurgency, attention is directed mainly on actions of the U.S. Army. Although coalition forces figure in the chapter on operations in Karbala, there is otherwise no consideration of British or other allied forces. The chapters by Richard Andres deal with the employment of air power, particularly in Northern Iraq, but otherwise this book focuses on the ground war. Finally, we recognize that perspectives on this war vary from province to province and from rotation to rotation, so any analysis must be seen . . .

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