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what's at stake?
Can the U.S. afford to fail in Iraq? A look at the challenges and perils of nation-building -- and the prospects for democracy.

 

What's at Stake in Iraq?
Many Americans have started to ask: Is this what we signed up for? And what will be the cost? Here, addressing the prospects for democracy in Iraq and for the success of the U.S. mission -- as well as the costs, risks, and potential benefits of success -- are excerpts from FRONTLINE's interviews with Richard Haass, L. Paul Bremer, Laith Kubba, Ahmad Chalabi, Edward Walker, and Kanan Makiya.

 

James Dobbins: Nation-Building 101
The former U.S. special envoy for Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, and, most recently, Afghanistan, offers his assessment of the U.S. operation in Iraq, in this Web-exclusive FRONTLINE interview.

 

Noah Feldman: `Islamic Democracy' in a New Iraq
In a Web-exclusive interview, NYU law professor Noah Feldman, author of After Jihad: America and the Struggle for Islamic Democracy (2003) and an advisor to the Iraqi constitutional process, argues that Islam is not what stands in the way of democracy in Iraq and the Middle East.

links & readings
 

"Nation-Building: The Inescapable Responsibility of the World's Only Superpower"
by James Dobbins
"The [Bush administration's] attempt to reverse the trend toward ever larger and more ambitious U.S.-led nation-building operations has proven short-lived," writes James Dobbins in this article, adapted from the new book, America's Role in Nation-Building: From Germany to Iraq (RAND, 2003), offering an overview of the U.S. nation-building record. "In Iraq," he observes, "the United States has taken on a task comparable in its vast scope to the transformational efforts still under way in Bosnia and Kosovo and comparable in its enormous scale to the earlier American occupations of Germany and Japan." (RAND Review, Summer 2003)

 

"Democracy, Closer Every Day"
by Noah Feldman
"To see the path to a legitimate, functional Iraqi government," writes Noah Feldman in this New York Times Op-Ed piece, "one must consider the remarkable and unexpected progress being made on the political track. Since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in May, the Iraqis participating in organized politics have shown a maturity and unity of purpose that prewar critics would scarcely have credited." (The New York Times, Sept. 24, 2003)

 

"Operation Iraqi Democracy"
by Noah Feldman
"Working with Islamic parties who profess the compatibility of democracy and Islam is good common sense. It is also unavoidable. A principled commitment to creating constitutional democracy in Iraq must be accompanied by the pragmatic willingness to let Iraqis follow the political directions they choose for themselves." (The Wall Street Journal, July 15, 2003)

 

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posted october 9, 2003

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