the invasion of iraq
readings & links

Missteps in Postwar Planning   Timelines of the War   The Civilian Casualties

Missteps in Postwar Planning

Reconstructing Iraq: Challenges and Missions for Military Forces in a Post-Conflict Scenario
What went wrong with the postwar occupation of Iraq will be studied for years and, in particular, why the Pentagon ignored advice on post-conflict planning from a wide variety of groups inside and outside the government. This January 2003 study from the Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, is one example of the analysis conducted before the war that indicated the U.S. commitment in Iraq would be long and difficult.

Is This Victory?
Could we have known what we were getting into in the aftermath of military victory? In these excerpts from FRONTLINE's interviews for the October 2003 report "Truth, War, and Consequences," U.S. administrators Jay Garner and Paul Bremer, USIP advisor Richard Perito, Iraqi leaders Ahmad Chalabi and Kanan Makiya, and former State Department official Richard Haass debate whether the U.S. should have -- or could have -- done more to prepare for the war's violent aftermath.

An Interview with Paul Bremer
This interview is from FRONTLINE's October 2003 report "Truth, War and Consequences." Bremer is the chief civilian administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), the U.S.-appointed organization charged with overseeing Iraq's reconstruction and transition to democratic rule. A former diplomat and ambassador-at-large for counterterrorism, Bremer concedes that his task is daunting. "We weren't planning for the kind of situation we found," he tells FRONTLINE. "What we do here is going to have a major impact on the geopolitics of this region for decades to come." This interview was conducted on Aug. 1, 2003.

An Interview with James Conway
This earlier interview with Gen. Conway is from FRONTLINE's October 2003 report "Truth, War and Consequences." As commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF), Lt. Gen. Conway was responsible for holding and patrolling southern Iraq. He was surprised that the Iraqi military never used chemical or biological weapons on his troops. He was also openly skeptical about finding stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. "We thought indirect fire capability -- artillery, rockets, missiles -- would be [Saddam's] means for putting the chemicals on us," he tells FRONTLINE. "I don't know how we got it wrong." This interview was conducted on Aug. 19, 2003.

An Interview with Jay Garner
This interview is from FRONTLINE's October 2003 report "Truth, War and Consequences." Lt. Gen. Jay Garner (U.S. Army-Ret.) was the first American administrator to oversee the interim administration and reconstruction of Iraq. He was chosen for this role, in part, because of his experience assisting displaced Kurds following the 1991 Gulf War. Garner's one-month tenure as the director of the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA), the precursor to the Coalition Provisional Authority, was fraught with controversy, and he was replaced by Paul Bremer. "The day you start building the war plan is the day you start building the postwar plan," Garner tells FRONTLINE. "We didn't do that, not in this case." This interview was conducted on July 17, 2003.

An Interview with Robert M. Perito
This interview is from FRONTLINE's October 2003 report "Truth, War and Consequences." A special advisor to the Rule of Law program at the Unites States Institute of Peace, Perito helped organize peacekeeping and post-conflict operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, and East Timor. In February 2003, Perito, a career Foreign Service officer who served on President Ronald Reagan's National Security Council staff, gave a talk to the Defense Policy Board, which advises the Pentagon's top brass. His warnings that the U.S. should prepare for postwar lawlessness in Iraq went unheeded. "There was no thought given to the possibility that, as soon as U.S. troops arrived in Baghdad, people would go on a systematic campaign to loot the city," he tells FRONTLINE. "This is just ignoring the lessons of history." This interview was conducted on Sept. 5, 2003.

Timelines of the War

CNN Special Report: War in Iraq
An archive of CNN's online war coverage that also profiles the military and weapons capabilities of both sides. The "War tracker" section is an archive of daily informational snapshots of the war, including maps showing troop movement and photo galleries. It also includes a full list of coalition casualties.

The New York Times's "Nation At War: Day By Day"
The New York Times' war coverage offers a large selection of interactive maps and features tracking the daily incidents of the war. The tabs at the top of the section link to other features on tactics, maps, and weapons.

The Washington Post's "War in Iraq"
Complete coverage by the Washington Post, includes a calendar that links to interactive daily summaries. The index also features an archive of stories by embedded reporters, commentary by Post columnists, and extensive profiles of American casualties.

The BBC's "Day by Day Guide"
A thorough archive of BBC news links from the war, organized by date. Some of the stories include links to interactive maps or photo galleries.
The site of this organization - which explores innovative ideas on defense and national security - offers a summary of war operations organized by day, as well as links to relevant news stories and official briefing transcripts.

Council on Foreign Relations' "Iraq Timeline"
A reverse chronology by the Council on Foreign Relations that covers the sequence of events in Iraq, starting with Paul Bremer's arrival in Baghdad and tracing back to President Bush's "axis of evil" comment in reference to Iraq.

The Civilian Casualties

Counting Civilian Casualties
Niko Price, who led the Associated Press count of Iraqi civilian casualties during the period of combat, participates in a discussion on the topic for "Newshour With Jim Lehrer." "The difficulty in trying to combine hospital records, grave sites, witness accounts, is that it's almost impossible to determine that you're not counting the same person twice," he says. "So really, for the sake of consistency, we needed to just concentrate on one of those, and we felt that hospital records were the most accurate" (June 19, 2003).

Iraq Body Count
An independent project run by British and American researchers that builds its database from the minimum and maximum number of deaths caused by an incident as reported in news accounts. The counting method it uses was conceptualized by University of New Hampshire professor Marc Herold.

"The Wages of War: Iraqi Combatant and Noncombatant Fatalities in the 2003 Conflict"
A report by the Project on Defense Alternatives that makes estimates for both Iraqi combatants and non combatants. PDA co-director Carl Conetta writes, "Our analysis of the evidence leads to the conclusion that between 10,800 and 15,100 Iraqis were killed in the war. Of these, between 3,200 and 4,300 were noncombatants -- that is: civilians who did not take up arms."(Oct. 20, 2003)

Off Target: The Conduct of the War and Civilian Casualties in Iraq
Human Rights Watch released this report that evaluates humanitarian rights violations, in particular as they relate to the Coalition tactics of "decapitation" strikes and the use of cluster bombs. "The widespread use of cluster munitions, especially by U.S. and U.K. ground forces, caused at least hundreds of civilian casualties. Cluster munitions, which are large weapons containing dozens or hundreds of submunitions, endanger civilians because of their broad dispersal, or 'footprint,' and the high number of submunitions that do not explode on impact." The report also cites humanitarian violations on the Iraqi side, such as soldiers using human shields or posing as civilians.

Updated Stats on U.S. Military Casualties
This site operated by the Department of Defense offers press resources, among them a PDF of military casualties that is updated daily. It can be found by clicking on "OIF/OEF Casualty Update," under "Current Information."


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posted february 26, 2004

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