Accession Number : AD1030435

Title :   Unequal Dialogue vs. Unbalanced Monologue: US Civil-Military Relations and Strategic Planning in Iraq

Descriptive Note : Technical Report


Personal Author(s) : Holtzclaw,Damion

Full Text :

Report Date : 01 Jun 2016

Pagination or Media Count : 57

Abstract : This study comprises an analysis of the 2003 US led Iraq invasion from a civil-military relations perspective. It argues that many of the problems the United States encountered after early successes in Iraq stemmed from a dysfunctional interaction between civilian and military leaders. In particular, US failures in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion were largely due to the Bush administrations inability to comprehend the value of dissenting ideas and opposing views of thought emanating from within the military establishment. In making this argument, the thesis takes a contrasting view from the widely acclaimed civil-military theorist Eliot Cohen. In his seminal book Supreme Command, Cohen introduces the concept of unequal dialogue as the benchmark of effective civil-military relations during times of war. While referencing the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, Cohen claims Secretary Rumsfeld effectively utilized unequal dialogue and thus won his war. This thesis shows that Cohen was right about winning the tactical battle; however, Cohen was wrong about the US achieving strategic victory. In addition, Cohen was also wrong in his affirmation of the Bush administrations use of his own theory. The Bush administration only applied one-half of the theorys requirement, the statesmans right to probe into military operations. Secretary Rumsfelds inability to value the second part, the unequal dialogue itself, restricted his ability to maximize strategic decision-making. Because Cohens two part-theory is not mutually exclusive, utilizing one-half in isolation of the other, satisfices or limits, the policy makers success in strategy development. Ultimately, this thesis asserts that poor civil-military relations contributed to the demise of Iraq in the summer months of 2003.

Descriptors :   iraqiwar , national security , civil war , stability operations , military strategy , foreign policy , national politics , Military commanders , decisionmaking

Subject Categories : Administration and Management
      Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
      Government and Political Science

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE