On March 20, 2003, the United States, the United Kingdom and a Coalition of allies invaded Iraq and overthrew the government of Saddam Hussein. They claimed to bring peace, prosperity and democracy. But ever since, violence, civil strife and economic hardship have wracked the land. Though US President George W. Bush delivered his “mission accomplished” speech on May 2, 2003, the conflict has continued for more than are now dead and wounded, millions are displaced, several of Iraq’s cities lie in ruins, and enormous resources have been squandered.
This report considers many aspects of the conflict, with special emphasis on the US Coalition’s responsibilities under international law. It also considers political and economic issues in Iraq and argues for urgent change, including a speedy withdrawal of Coalition forces
The American engagement in Iraq has been looked at from many perspectives, including the flawed intelligence that provided the war’s rationale, the failed effort to secure an international mandate, the rapid success of the invasion, and the long ensuing counterinsurgency campaign.
This book focuses on the activities of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and its administrator, L. Paul Bremer, who governed Iraq from his arrival on May 12, 2003, to his departure on June 28 of the following year. It is an account of that occupation, seen largely from American eyes—mostly from Americans working in Baghdad for the CPA. It is based on interviews with many of those in Baghdad and Washington responsible for setting and implementing occupation policy, on the memoirs of American and Iraqi officials who have since left office, on journalists’ accounts of the period, and on nearly100,000 internal CPA documents to which the authors were allowed access.