Learning the Right Lessons from Iraq

Capitol Hill Briefing
May 16, 2008 12:00PM
385 Russell Senate Office Building
Featuring Christopher Preble, Director of Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute, and Benjamin H. Friedman, Research Fellow in Defense and Homeland Security Studies, Cato Institute.
Foreign policy analysts are misreading the lessons of Iraq. The emerging conventional wisdom holds that success could have been achieved in Iraq with more troops, more cooperation among U.S. government agencies, and better counterinsurgency doctrine. Yet the Bush administration’s failures and errors in judgment did not derive from poor planning, but from flawed assumptions about the nature of Iraqi society. The difficulties in Iraq demonstrate the need for a new national security strategy and a newfound appreciation for the limits of power, not simply better tactics and tools. By insisting that Iraq was ours to remake were it not for the administration’s mismanagement, U.S. policy makers risk repeating these mistakes. Please join Cato scholars Christopher Preble and Benjamin H. Friedman for a discussion of these issues, which they and co-author Harvey Sapolsky also explore in the recent policy analysis, “Learning the Right Lessons from Iraq.”