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the lost year in iraq

Discussion Questions

  1. On April 9, 2003, American troops assisted a crowd of Iraqis in toppling the statue of Saddam Hussein as they celebrated the end of Saddam's reign. Describe how the situation on the ground quickly changed only days after that event and why American forces seemed unable to address that change.
  2. Describe the roles of L. Paul Bremer III and former Gen. Jay Garner as presented in the program.
  3. What challenges did Garner face during his brief tenure as postwar administrator of Iraq?
  4. Compare and contrast Garner and Bremer's styles and plans for administering postwar Iraq.
  5. Many of the administrators in the Coalition Provisional Authority were young and inexperienced. What were the advantages and disadvantages of having such a group of planners involved in the reconstruction process?
  6. Describe the pre-war idealism many of these young people had upon their arrival and why and how the postwar realities made achieving this idealism so difficult.
  7. Which U.S. policies later proved to be pivotal in strengthening the insurgency in Iraq?
  8. Describe the disagreements that arose between Bremer and the Pentagon (particularly Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld) over the administration of postwar Iraq. How did each person's position conflict with the other?
  9. What efforts did Bremer make to try to improve the situation in Iraq, and why according to the film, was he unsuccessful in these efforts?
  10. Evaluate how the situation in Iraq changed from when Bremer arrived in Iraq to when he left. What factors are you considering in your evaluation?