Ends, ways, and means in Iraq

Strategic realignment: ends, ways, and means in Iraq

Bruce J. Reider

Four years into the war in Iraq, the debate rages over whether there are enough troops deployed to accomplish the mission. Congress and the White House continuously argue over resources and the conduct of the war. Meanwhile, American and Iraqi casualties persist at an unacceptable rate. America’s political and military leaders suggest progress is being made and we should stay the course; after all, it generally requires eight to ten years to defeat an insurgency. From a historical perspective, they are correct. But the situation in Iraq is not just an insurgency, and labeling it as such is a gross oversimplification of the challenges we face.

Iraq is a mega-complex challenge; a collage of complex issues that cannot be readily deconstructed into individual issues and problems, solved, and put back together. Every issue in Iraq has potential second- and third-order effects as well as unintended consequences. Some of the enduring factors that will not be easily resolved are the deep-rooted religious conflict, modernization, corruption, inequitable distribution of wealth, lack of economic development, discontent among young males, the prevalence of militias, and a divided government influenced by sectarian interests. Understanding these issues is essential to comprehending the overall nature of the war.

Complicating the situation is the presence of terrorists. Allegedly, in an interview with Jordanian journalist Fouad Hussein, the late terrorist Abu Musab al Zarqawi outlined al Qaeda in Iraq’s steps toward world domination and establishment of a caliphate. Al Qaeda has a three-stage strategy in Iraq: to expel American forces, establish an Islamic authority or emirate in Iraq, and extend the jihad to the secular countries neighboring Iraq. (1)

The current situation in Iraq is the result of three fundamental strategic mistakes. First, the United States, particularly its military, initially was remiss in discerning the nature of the conflict and subsequently failed to reassess the situation as circumstances evolved. Second, the government, as a whole, failed to balance ends, ways, and means. Third, the government chose the wrong strategy. Instead of adopting a strategy appropriate for the complexities of a multifaceted conflict that includes elements of civil war, insurgency, and terrorism, decisionmakers instituted a strategy predominantly focused on counterinsurgency operations. Not only have decisionmakers failed to recognize the realities of the situation, they have failed to adapt and anticipate.

Policy by Other Means

It is important to keep in mind that war is a political act. According to Clausewitz, “War is not merely an act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse, carried on with other means.” (2) The wisdom of the decision to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein’s regime is irrelevant. (3) The fact of the matter is the United States is fully engaged in Iraq and needs to remain committed to resolving the challenges it was a party to creating. Although unilateral withdrawal is an option, it would further destabilize the entire region or, worse, lead to the implosion of Iraq, plunging the entire Middle East into war. Retired General Barry R. McCaffrey assesses that such a conflict “would be a disaster for 25 years.” (4) Iraq is essential to regional and global stability, and “victory in Iraq is a vital national interest.” (5)

The Nature of the Conflict

Accurate determination of the nature of a conflict is the critical first step in understanding the actions required for success. Clausewitz’s insight reveals, “The nature of war is complex and changeable … its nature influences its purpose and its means.” (6) The appropriate strategic solution to any conflict depends on correctly assessing its nature. Iraq is, however, a unique conflict. On the one-hand, it resembles a civil war; on the other, it looks like an insurgency.

In November 2005, the National Security Council published the National Strategy for Victory in Iraq, a comprehensive approach for defeating the then two-and-a-half-year-old insurgency. The National Strategy for Victory in Iraq articulated an integrated counterinsurgency strategy designed along three broad tracks–political, security, and economic–consisting of eight strategic objectives (pillars) and 46 subordinate objectives or lines of action. The military was primarily responsible for defining the nature of the war in Iraq as an insurgency and implementing the associated strategy focused on counterinsurgency operations (COIN).

Although the nature of the 1959-1975 conflict in Vietnam is different from that in Iraq, there are strategic similarities. In his classic book on the conflict in Vietnam, On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War, the late Colonel Harry G. Summers, Jr., described how the United States failed to correctly determine the nature of the conflict and consequently pursued a flawed strategy. According to Colonel Summers, “Counterinsurgency became not so much the Army’s doctrine as the Army’s dogma … and stultified military strategic thinking for the next decade…. Counterinsurgency took on a life of its own…. The March 1962 issue of Army [magazine] … was devoted to (in its own words) ‘spreading the gospel’ of counterinsurgency.” (7)

The US Army is once again enamored with counterinsurgency operations. The Army’s current emphasis on COIN is not limited to operations in Iraq. Professional military education is increasingly focused on COIN. For senior captains and majors attending intermediate level education, approximately 36 percent (201 of 555 hours) of the core curriculum focuses on COIN and related subjects. The average student also takes 40 hours of COIN-related electives. Add another 165 hours of exercises, and these officers receive 406 hours of COIN-related instruction. (8)

The Trinity: Ends, Ways, and Means

Clausewitz described the relationship of ends, ways, and means in terms of a “paradoxical trinity” which has been interpreted as the government, military, and people. The government is responsible for defining the desired political environment at the conclusion of conflict (the ends), the military is primarily responsible for developing the strategy (the ways), and the people, as represented by Congress, provide the will and resources (the means). The challenge is to achieve harmony among the ends, ways, and means. If any element of the trinity is out of balance success is jeopardized. There are those who would contend that this “strategic disconnect” is reflected by the situation in Iraq. The pivotal question is, could the political objectives have been accomplished and ends achieved with the given means if the right ways (strategy) were used? In his precis On War, Clausewitz differentiates between absolute war and limited war. Limited war can be defined by limited objectives or limited means. “Military strategy exists to serve political ends.” (9) In other words, the ways must be adjusted to support the ends and not the other way around. The means constrain and shape the ways.

Clausewitz cautions, “No one starts a war–or rather, no one in his senses ought to do so–without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by that war and how he intends to conduct it. The former is its political purpose, the latter its operational objective. This is the governing principle which will set its course, prescribe the scale of means and effort required, and make its influence felt down to the smallest operational detail.” (10)


According to the National Strategy for Victory in Iraq, the desired end-state is “Iraq with a constitutional representative government that respects civil rights and has security forces sufficient to maintain domestic order and keep Iraq from becoming a safe-haven for terrorists.”” The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) analyzed the National Strategy for Victory in Iraq against what it described as six desirable characteristics (subdivided into 27 separate elements) of an effective strategy. The GAO report, Rebuilding Iraq: More Comprehensive National Strategy Needed to Help Achieve U.S. Goals, published in July 2006, said, “The desired end-state of the US strategy has remained unchanged since 2003, but the underlying assumptions have changed in response to changing security and economic conditions, calling into question the likelihood of achieving the desired end-state.” (12) The end-state should be tempered and tailored against what can be achieved with the means America has the political will to expend.


Thus far, the political debate has focused almost exclusively on means; specifically, does the United States have enough manpower in Iraq to accomplish the mission? Clausewitz advises, “The degree of force that must be used against the enemy depends on the scale of political demands on either side…. To discover how much of our resources must be mobilized for war, we must first examine our own political aim and that of the enemy.” (13) There is a growing segment of the American public that is losing its patience, however, given the apparent lack of political progress. Even Congress, despite limited political grandstanding, has not shirked from providing the means to prosecute the conflict. Steadfastly, the National Strategy for Victory in Iraq and the American military have insisted that any troop reductions must be “conditions-based.” That position makes sense; however, demonstrating progress toward an acceptable end-state is a reasonable expectation if we are to retain the political will of Congress and support of the American people.

What number of military forces is needed in Iraq? In his article “Burden of Victory: The Painful Arithmetic of Stability Operations,” James T. Quinlivan offers some planning figures for calculating security requirements. According to Quinlivan, “Peaceful populations require force ratios of somewhere between one and four peace officers per thousand residents. The United States as a whole has about 2.3 sworn police officers per thousand residents. Larger cities tend to have higher ratios of police to population.” (14) But these figures are for routine policing against crime and general population security in a relatively stable environment. “For cases drastic enough to warrant outside intervention, the required force ratio is normally much higher. Successful strategies for population security and control have required force ratios as large as 20 security personnel (military and police combined) per thousand residents.” (15) Although the British used a force ratio of approximately 20 security personnel per 1,000 inhabitants during the Malaysian counterinsurgency, there simply are no definitive planning factors for COIN operations.

The population in Iraq was approximately 25.5 million in 2002. Based on a planning factor of 20 security personnel for every 1,000 inhabitants, Iraq requires 510,758 security personnel. The National Strategy for Victory in Iraq calls for a security environment of 326,000 Iraqi military and police. In comparison, the US Department of State projected in the period between September 2004 and January 2005 it would require 271,000 Iraqi troops and police to “neutralize insurgents and maintain domestic order.” In contrast, the Coalition Provisional Authority Strategic Plan of 2003-2004 envisioned a permissive security environment of 162,000 Iraqi troops and police when the security objective was to “defeat terrorists/Ba’athists and provide a secure environment.” (16)

In its “Iraq Weekly Status Report” dated 25 July 2007, the Department of State reported there were approximately 354,100 trained and equipped Iraqi Security Forces comprised of 194,200 Ministry of Interior forces (police, national police, and other ministry forces) and 158,900 Ministry of Defense forces (Army, Air Force, and Navy). These numbers do not include an estimated 144,000 Facilities Protection Service personnel. (17) According to a Congressional Research Service report dated 15 July 2007 there are approximately 156,250 US troops in Iraq. (18) The combined sum of Iraqi Security Forces and US military forces in Iraq exceeds 510,000, not taking into account other Coalition forces. (19)

The security situation in Iraq is unique in each region. Conditions differ and the challenges vary considerably between the city of Mosul and Ninawa province in the northwest; the Shia area southeast of Baghdad extending to Basrah; the Kurdish region in the north; and the western Sunni province of Al Anbar. Most of the violence occurs in four provinces: Al Anbar, Baghdad, Ninawa, and Salah ad Din. The high level of violence in these provinces requires a security force ratio of at least 20:1,000 based on universally accepted norms. The level of violence in Basrah, Tamim, Babil, and Diyala provinces is moderate, and a security force ratio of 6:1,000 may be sufficient. The remaining ten provinces have relatively low-levels of violence. They include the provinces in the northern Kurdish region and sparsely populated areas of Iraq where a 3:1,000 security force ratio is reasonable. Force calculations based on the actual situation in each province provide a more realistic requirement of approximately 280,239 security forces throughout Iraq. The actual requirement is probably between 280,000 and 510,000 if the situation in Iraq is classified as an insurgency. The problem in Iraq is not a question of insufficient “means;” rather, it is a matter of incorrect “ways.”


The term “Iraqi insurgency” has been used by various factions and the mainstream media to describe the conflict in post-invasion Iraq, to now include the ongoing violence against the new Iraqi government and Coalition forces. Is the insurgency targeting US and Coalition forces, the Iraqi government, or both? The definition of an insurgency may help provide the clarity required to answer this question. What is an insurgency? The term insurgency is commonly used to describe a movement’s unlawfulness by virtue of not being authorized by or in accordance with existing laws. When used by a state or an authority under threat, “insurgency” implies an illegitimacy of cause by those conducting the actions against authority, whereas the insurgents see the authority itself as illegitimate. According to the Army’s counterinsurgency doctrine, Field Manual 3-24, “An insurgency is an organized, protracted politico-military struggle designed to weaken the control and legitimacy of an established government, occupying power, or other political authority while increasing insurgent control.” (20) FM 3-24 notes, “Joint doctrine defines an insurgency as an organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through the use of subversion and armed conflict (JP 1-02).” (21) Insurgencies are aimed at undermining or overthrowing an established or constituted government. “Political power is the central issue in insurgencies and counterinsurgencies; each side aims to get the people to accept its governance or authority as legitimate.” (22) In an insurgency, one side is the government and the other side is the opposition. An insurgency will wither and die without the support of the population and presence of grievances causing widespread discontent. Not surprisingly, most insurgencies occur in states characterized by weak, corrupt, or failing governments.

Insurgents focus on real or perceived grievances. The insurgent and the government fight for support of the population which both need for their ultimate survival. This is not the case in Iraq. The current government in Iraq has failed to garner universal acceptance nor is it recognized by the majority of the population. Although the government was elected, the Iraqi people do not universally view it as legitimate. The January 2005 election was technically democratic, but from a practical perspective it was really more an expression of factional (ethnic and sectarian) alignment.

Insurgencies are not exclusively internal conflicts; they can also take the form of resistance to foreign invaders. The insurgency in Iraq is focused on repelling Coalition forces. The approach of the United States and its partners has been primarily military in nature, oriented, almost exclusively, on counterinsurgency operations. Even the first pillar of the National Strategy for Victory in Iraq, “Defeat the terrorists and neutralize the insurgency,” has a COIN focus. (23)

“The demographics of contemporary Iraq reflect the fractured nature of the state. Arabs make up 75-80 percent of the country’s 26 million people; Kurds 15-20 percent. Religion further divides the population. While 97 percent of Iraqis practice Islam, the majority (60-65 percent) belong to the Shiite tradition.” (24) Ever since the Coalition toppled Saddam Hussein’s government, all three major factions–Sunni, Shia, and Kurds–have been locked in a struggle for power.

The tribal nature of Iraqi society further complicates the situation. Religion plays a fundamental role in how Iraqi culture functions. Imams (religious figures) and tribal leaders influence the behavior of the population in ways that outsiders do not fully understand. These factors combined with centuries of historical friction greatly affect the tension between Sunni, Shia, and Kurds.

What is the agenda (goals) of each faction? The Shia majority wants to consolidate its political and economic gains and dominate the government. The Sunni minority is fighting to regain lost power. Sunnis believe it is their destiny to govern Iraq. They reject any form of a federalist government for Iraq, yet they do not see partitioning of the country as either feasible or acceptable. Sunnis are not only locked in civil war with the Shia but are also conducting an insurgency against the United States and Coalition forces who they blame for their loss of power. Sunnis remain unsure whether to seek their aims through participation in the political process or through violence. With a population of approximately six million, it would appear that Sunnis could maintain an insurgency indefinitely. For the Kurds, the current situation in Iraq represents an opportunity for creation of an independent Kurdish state or, at a minimum, greater autonomy. Although Kurds predominately follow Sunni religious practices, they are, first and foremost, Kurds. Kurdish ambitions and the consequences of Kurdish nationalism are not limited to the geographic boundaries of Iraq. The potential impact of the Kurdish problem, with regard to Iran and more significantly Turkey, cannot be ignored.

But Iraq is not simply an insurgency. Unfortunately, many in positions of authority have developed a fixation with the term insurgency. The Sunni insurgency is only part of the problem in Iraq. The larger and more strategically critical challenge is the sectarian-based civil war. The Iraq Study Group concluded, “Sectarian conflict is the principal challenge to authority” in Iraq. (25) “Many Iraqis are embracing sectarian identities” and “sectarian violence causes the largest number of Iraqi civilian casualties.” (26) Furthermore, “The composition of the Iraqi government is basically sectarian, and key players within the government too often act in their sectarian interest.” (27) “The polity is marked by growing ethno-sectarianism in which Iraqis identify strictly with their own preferred, self-defined community and interpret events exclusively through an ethno-sectarian lens. The rushed constitutional process encouraged such polarization as Iraqis sought to maximize their political gains on the basis of group identity. The political process thereby has become a dangerous sociological process of affirmation of one’s ethnic/sectarian identity.” (28)

In his March 2007 after-action report, General McCaffrey stated, “Iraq is ripped by a low-grade civil war.” (29) The presence of Coalition forces appears to be the only deterrent preventing the country from erupting in full-scale civil war.

What is a civil war and how does it differ from an insurgency? A civil war is a war between factions in the same country. A civil war is a struggle for power through conflict and violence. It has an internal focus. “The most scholarly definition (of civil war) has two main criteria. The first says that the warring groups must be from the same country and fighting for control of the political center, control over a separatist state, or to force a major change in policy. The second says that at least 1,000 people must have been killed, with at least 100 from each side.” (30) The situation in Iraq certainly meets those two criteria. Whereas an insurgency focuses on overthrowing an established, constituted government or authority, civil war is a violent struggle between factions to determine who governs. “Whether we portray the problem as insurgency or low-level civil war, the antidote remains much the same: a strong, representative government that has a monopoly on the use of force.” (31) Labeling the situation in Iraq an insurgency or a civil war is not merely a matter of semantics. “Experts say if Iraq qualifies as a civil war, then the standard counterinsurgency playbook … is rendered ineffective.” (32) Insurgency and civil war both require different strategic approaches for resolution. The complex nature of the conflict in Iraq necessitates a shift from a COIN-centric military strategy to an approach that addresses escalating sectarian violence and civil war as the main threats with the Sunni-based insurgency and counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda as supporting efforts. The solution in Iraq requires a political strategy that addresses not only the insurgency but also the sectarian-based civil war.

The Iraq Study Group Report listed four possible courses of action in Iraq: precipitous withdrawal, staying the course, more forces, and devolution to three regions. (33) Alternatively, the United States and its allies could adopt one of three different strategies in an effort to end the civil war. The first strategy of withdrawal would be a political and moral mistake. This will likely result in widespread bloodshed among the civilian population. The United States has a moral responsibility to stay and support the Iraqi people. Politically, withdrawal from Iraq would cost America credibility in the region. From a security perspective, withdrawal would create an unacceptable void leading to greater instability. The second strategy is ceasefire and separation that may initially require an even greater influx of forces. This strategy would involve a multinational approach preferably under United Nations auspices (Chapter 6 or Chapter 7 of the UN Charter). This solution could provide for a secure and stable environment conducive for the negotiation of long-term, permanent solutions to issues such as federalism, oil revenue sharing, the status of Kirkuk, and the establishment of a transparent and inclusive government. The third strategy is to choose a side. The immense moral and political effects of this strategy render it infeasible, unacceptable, and unsuitable. Therefore, ceasefire and separation would appear to be the best strategy for achieving desired political ends.

Logic dictates that a political problem requires a political solution. War is, after all, politics by other means. The situation in Iraq depends on political discourse between all parties; the United States, its Coalition partners, the Iraqi government, and the various opposition factions. The solution cannot rely exclusively on military action. Interestingly, the Iraq Study Group agreed with the goal of US policy in Iraq but concluded, “Current US policy is not working.” (34)

The US government needs to address a number of strategic omissions if progress is to be made toward resolving the conflict. First, America and its military need to understand the nature of the war, i.e., a conflict dominated by sectarian violence, entailing a low-level civil war, a Sunni insurgency against Coalition forces, and the limited actions of al Qaeda terrorists bent on spreading global jihad. Second, we need to balance ends, ways, and means. Changes in the desired political end-state may become necessary. In a monograph published by the US Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, W. Andrew Terrill suggests, “If a civil war can be avoided for the time being by deemphasizing rapid democratic development, then this sacrifice will need to be made.” (35) In terms of means, there currently are sufficient forces in Iraq; at least through the end of March 2008. Ways equates to how the means are used–the strategy. This is the third change that is necessary. The strategy needs to fit the nature of the war. A change of strategy is required to address the spectrum of threats, not just the aspects related to the insurgency. In fact, efforts need to focus on the most dangerous threat, a sectarian-based civil war.

One of the first steps in changing strategy will be to negotiate a ceasefire between the various factions and agree upon the terms of compliance. The diplomatic emphasis needs to shift from its focus on building capacity in the government to brokering a ceasefire and ending the violence, while empowering Shia, Sunni, and Kurd factions to negotiate their own political solution. Sunni inclusion will be the litmus test for a successful political solution. The economic instrument of national power can be a powerful incentive and should be used accordingly. Initiatives such as micro-loans, debt forgiveness, direct loans, and other economic programs can provide the proverbial carrot to entice the various factions to negotiate a ceasefire and maintain compliance.

The security focus needs to be on Baghdad. Baghdad has a diverse population of approximately six million and has historically been the center of gravity culturally, politically, and economically. Military forces should be used to establish and control a zone of separation (ZOS) between factions in and around the city. Boundaries of the ZOS must be clearly delineated and marked. Any ceasefire agreement needs to include provisions for establishing a commission consisting of representatives of the various factions, along with Coalition forces, in an effort to resolve conflicts and mediate disputes. Implementation forces responsible for verification and enforcement of the terms of the ceasefire would be designated and positioned on key and decisive terrain ensuring freedom of movement, maintaining visibility, and helping to build a feeling of security for the population in an effort to create an environment capable of supporting a separation of forces and a return to peace. Patrols should be used to confirm or deny factional compliance. Show of force may be used if necessary. Collectively, these measures provide the best approach for establishing and maintaining peace and stability while political processes work toward permanent solutions.


The will of the American people and Congress is waning. The United States cannot afford to withdraw from Iraq, but changes are necessary. First, we need to acknowledge the true nature of the war. The situation has grown from what might initially have been an insurgency to a multifaceted conflict that includes all the elements of civil war, insurgency, and terrorism. Second, there is a requirement to reexamine the ends, ways, and means to ensure that a political end-state is achievable with the means the United States is willing to expend, and the ways we, as a nation, support. Success will be exceedingly difficult to achieve unless ends, ways, and means are balanced. This may require redefining the ends from the ideal to a more realistic goal. In terms of means, the United States currently has sufficient forces in Iraq. Ways–the strategy–is the other variable and the third change that is necessary. The United States needs to develop a strategy focused primarily on minimizing civil unrest and resolving the sectarian-based civil war. The first order of business against which all instruments of national power should be oriented is obtaining and enforcing a ceasefire agreement between the warring factions, accompanied by the political discourse leading to permanent solutions for the daily problems facing Iraqis. Although this may seem like an overly simplistic approach it presents the only potential for achieving the end-state that would permit US and Coalition forces to withdraw in meaningful numbers.


(1.) Yassin Musharbash, “What al-Qaida Really Wants,” Spiegel Online, 12 August 2005, http:// www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,369448,00.html.

(2.) Carl von Clausewitz, On War, ed. and trans, by Michael Howard and Peter Paret (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1984), 99.

(3.) Alternative pre-invasion approaches such as occupying the areas encompassed by the southern and northern “no-fly” zones with ground troops to pressure incrementally the Hussein government do not matter anymore. That debate should have taken place before the invasion and now rests in the hands of historians.

(4.) Barry R. McCaffrey, “After Action Report–General Barry R. McCaffrey USA (Ret) Visit Iraq and Kuwait 9-16 March 2007,” Memorandum dated 26 March 2007.

(5.) National Security Council, National Strategy for Victory in Iraq, November 2005, 4.

(6.) Clausewitz, 102.

(7.) Harry G. Summers, Jr., On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War (New York: Dell Publishing, 1984), 110, 115, and 109.

(8.) Volney J. Warner and James H. Wilbanks, “Preparing Field Grade Leaders for Today and Tomorrow,” Military Review, 86 (January-February 2006), 108.

(9.) Summers, 169.

(10.) Clausewitz, 700.

(11.) National Security Council, 1.

(12.) US Government Accountability Office, Rebuilding Iraq: More Comprehensive National Strategy Needed to Help Achieve U.S. Goals, July 2006, 1.

(13.) Clausewitz, 707-08.

(14.) James T. Quinlivan, “Burden of Victory: The Painful Arithmetic of Stability Operations,” RAND Review, 27 (Summer 2003), 28, http://www.rand.org/publications/randreview/issues/summer2003/burden.html.

(15.) Ibid.

(16.) US Government Accountability Office, 10.

(17.) US Department of State, “Iraq Weekly Status Report,” 25 July 2007, http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/89610.pdf.

(18.) Congressional Research Service, “Iraq: U.S. Military Operations,” 15 July 2007, http://www.fas.org/ sgp/crs/mideast/RL3170l.pdf, 8.

(19.) By comparison, historical minimum planning ratios for combat operations range from 1:6 for a delay to 1:3 to defend from a prepared or fortified position to 2.5:1 for a hasty attack. These figures are used to determine the number of friendly military combat units required against enemy military combat units. (A unit is a battalion or equivalent size organization.) It is important to emphasize that these figures are used solely to compare the strength of military forces only and do not factor in other security forces such as police. In contrast to the security planning factors for policing and general security of a population and COIN planning ratios, planning factors for combat operations are based on the size of the enemy’s military forces, not on the size of the indigenous population.

(20.) Department of the Army, Counterinsurgency, Field Manual 3-24, 1-1.

(21.) Ibid.

(22.) Ibid.

(23.) National Security Council, 25.

(24.) Thomas R. Mockaitis, The Iraq War: Learning from the Past, Adapting to the Present, and Planning for the Future (Carlisle, Pa.: US Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute, February 2007), 21.

(25.) James E. Baker III and Lee H. Hamilton, The Iraq Study Group Report (New York: Vintage Books, 2006), 9.

(26.) Ibid., 17.

(27.) Ibid., 26.

(28.) International Crisis Group, “Unmaking Iraq: A Constitutional Process Gone Awry,” Middle East Briefing, No. 19, 26 September 2005, 11.

(29.) McCaffrey.

(30.) Edward Wong, “Scholars Agree Iraq Meets Definition of ‘Civil War,'” International Herald Tribune, 26 November 2006, http://www.iht.com/bin/print.php?id=3675083.

(31.) Douglas A. Ollivant and Eric D. Chewning, “Producing Victory: A 2007 Postscript for Implementation,” Military Review, 87 (March-April 2007), 109.

(32.) Lionel Beehner, “The Implications of ‘Civil War’ in Iraq,” Council on Foreign Relations Backgrounder, 1 December 2006, http://www.cfr.org/publication/12154/.

(33.) Baker and Hamilton, 50-52.

(34.) Ibid., 51.

(35.) W. Andrew Terrill, Strategic Implications of Intercommunal Warfare in Iraq (Carlisle, Pa.: US Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute, February 2005), 39.

Colonel Bruce J. Reider is Director, Center for Army Leadership, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Colonel Reider previously served as Chief, Policy Division, Multi-National Force-Iraq. He is a graduate of the School of Advanced Military Studies’ Advanced Operational Art Studies Fellowship and the Advanced Military Studies Program. He also holds a Master of Science degree in International Relations from Troy State University and Master of Military Arts and Science degree from the US Army Command and General Staff College.

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