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Success and Failure in Limited WarInformation and Strategy in the Korean, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, and Iraq Wars$
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Spencer D. Bakich

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226107684

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226107851.001.0001

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Iraq—Win the Battle, Lose the War

Iraq—Win the Battle, Lose the War

(p.186) Chapter Six Iraq—Win the Battle, Lose the War
Success and Failure in Limited War

Spencer D. Bakich

University of Chicago Press

The Iraq War was a mixed outcome for the United States: a military success but diplomatic failure. Militarily, America sought the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime with a minimal amount of combat power expended in the effort. Diplomatically, top policymakers sought to create the conditions for the emergence of a stable and democratic Iraqi state. The U.S. achieved its military objective, but it did so at the expense of its diplomatic objective as the effort to foster a democratic regime succumbed to the rise of a Sunni-based insurgency. This chapter argues that this mixed outcome resulted from America's moderately truncated information institution. President George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld received the vast majority of their strategic intelligence from U.S. Central Command headed by General Tommy Franks. This “empowered stovepipe” produced a military strategy that resulted in regime change, but which undermined post-conflict stabilization and reconstruction efforts.

Keywords:   Iraq War, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Cheney, Tommy Franks, Saddam Hussein, Insurgency, Regime change, Intelligence, Empowered stovepipe

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