Ending the U.S. War in Iraq: The Final Transition, Operational Maneuver, and Disestablishment of United States Forces-Iraq
RAND NATIONAL DEFENSE RESEARCH INST SANTA MONICA CA
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In March 2003, the United States and its coalition partners began Operation Iraqi Freedom. The military campaign leading to the destruction of Saddam Hussein s military, the capture of his seat of power in Baghdad, and many other tasks associated with the invasion phase of the operation were complete by April 30 a mere six weeks after the start of the war. As military history demonstrates, wars rarely end as first planned, for reasons that may not have been considered when crafting war plans. For example, war changes a country s internal political and social dynamics, affecting its internal security, economic development, and governance. In addition, countries and nonstate actors that were not part of the initial conflict may pursue their own interests in ways that bring new challenges to ending a war. Further, the initial political goals may expand in light of changing situations on the ground, causing major shifts in the military campaign. From the beginning to the end of a war, all participants operate under a cloud of uncertainty. Military leaders and national security experts use history as the foundation of their professional knowledge. Military history is primarily concerned with facts, figures, and lessons learned about how to fight and win battles and campaigns. However, the history of war suggests that how a war ends is at least as important as how it is waged in establishing a given postwar environment. Despite this importance, military practitioners, strategists, and historians sometimes pay less attention to understanding how wars end than how they are fought.
- Government and Political Science
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics