The Center for American Progress will host a series of events and produce several analyses in the coming weeks examining the course of the war in Iraq and proposing the next steps for U.S. policy in Iraq. The series will include speeches by prominent policymakers and panel discussions on important aspects of Iraq policy and its effects on U.S. national security. The Center will also release updated analyses examining the current policy in Iraq and providing an alternative direction.
In addition, each day between the fifth anniversary of the start of the military campaign in Iraq on March 19 to President Bush’s "Mission Accomplished" speech on May 1, the Center’s website will highlight a key piece of analysis examining the mistakes made by the Bush administration and its allies in waging the war of choice in Iraq—and the consequences of those mistakes on our overall national security. These analyses will be catalogued on the War in Iraq page of our website, providing a detailed source of information on our nation’s costly march to war in the wrong place at the wrong time five years ago.
Event schedule follows – additional speakers will be added
Remarks: "A Conversation on Iraq" with Senator Jack Reed (D-RI)
Sen. Jack Reed, a former Army paratrooper, has made 11 trips to Iraq, the most of any senator. At the Center for American Progress, Sen. Reed will discuss his most recent trip to Iraq which took place January 17-18, 2008. Sen. Reed traveled across Iraq with Special Operations forces and visited the cities of Fallujah, Balad, Baqubah, Basra, and Baghdad, where he met with Generals Petraeus and Odierno as well as Ambassador Crocker.
Book discussion: No End in Sight: Iraq’s Descent into Chaos, featuring Charles Ferguson
Called "a clear, temperate, and devastating account of high-level arrogance and incompetence" by The New York Times, No End in Sight is the first book to chronicle the reasons behind Iraq’s descent into guerilla war, warlord rule, criminality, and anarchy. Based on Charles Ferguson’s Academy Award nominated documentary film.
Campus Progress screening: "No End in Sight"
"No End in Sight" examines the manner in which the principal errors of U.S. policy – the use of insufficient troop levels, allowing the looting of Baghdad, the purging of professionals from the Iraqi government, and the disbanding of the Iraqi military – largely created the insurgency and chaos that engulf Iraq today. "No End in Sight" dissects the people, issues and facts behind the Bush Administration’s decisions and their consequences on the ground to provide a powerful look into how arrogance and ignorance turned a military victory into a seemingly endless and deepening nightmare of a war. There will be a discussion of the film following the screening.
Panel Discussion: Debating the Surge in Iraq
Andrew Bacevich (Boston University), Michele Flournoy (Center for New American Security), and Major General Robert Scales (U.S. Army, ret.)
On the 5th anniversary of the Iraq invasion, the Center for American Progress will host a panel discussion to assess the impact of the surge of over 30,000 American troops which took place in 2007. Panelists will analyze the impact of the surge on the security situation in Iraq, its effect on Iraq’s political process and where the United States should go from here. With the drawdown of the surge forces already underway, panelists will also analyze the effect of the surge on U.S. military readiness and overall U.S. security interests in the Middle East.
Panel Discussion: Financial Costs of the War in Iraq
Linda Bilmes (Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government) and Steve Kosiak (Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments)
In 2002, before the war in Iraq began, White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey offered an "upper bound" estimate of the cost of the war in Iraq to be $100 to $200 billion. Nearly 4,000 American and between 100,000 and 600,000 Iraqi lives later, the direct cost of the Iraq war is approaching $1 trillion and the total cost may well exceed $3 trillion. Panelists will discuss the both the direct and indirect costs of the war in Iraq. At a time when the American economy is near recession, panelists will also discuss the impact of the war’s record financial cost on the American economy.
Center for American Progress Paper Release: How Does this End?
Tactical Progress, Strategic Failure in Iraq
In 2003, as a well-organized indigenous insurgency began to form in weeks following the U.S. invasion of Iraq, General Petraeus famously asked a Washington Post reporter : "Tell me how does this end?" Five years, 4,000 American lives, nearly $1 trillion, and tens of thousand Iraqi lives later, it is still the central question of this war. The report will examine the political environment in Iraq as well as the long-term challenges posed by the current security arrangements in Iraq.
Discussion: A View from the Ground in Iraq
Michael Ware (CNN)
Michael Ware, CNN’s correspondent in Baghdad, is one of only a handful of international correspondents who has lived in and reported from Iraq since before the start of the war. Previously Time magazine’s Baghdad Bureau Chief, Ware has provided perceptive reporting on the five years of the Iraq war, including groundbreaking reporting on the growth of Iraq’s insurgency.
Reel Progress Film Screening: "Body of War" featuring a post-performance discussion with producer Phil Donahue
The intimate and transformational feature documentary "Body of War" follows the story of Tomas Young, an Iraq War veteran paralyzed by a bullet to the spine, on a physical and emotional journey as he adapts to his new body and begins to question the decision to go to war in Iraq. The film takes an unflinching view of the physical and emotional aftermath of war through the eyes of an American hero while examining the historic debate that unfolded in Congress about going to war.
Panel Discussion: Examining the Regional Impact of Iraq’s Internal Conflicts
In a panel discussion organized with the Center’s Middle East Progress project, the Center will invite top Iraq and Middle East experts to examine Iraq’s internal conflicts and the impact they have had on broader regional dynamics. The panel will analyze how Iraq’s neighbors can play a constructive role in stabilizing the conflict in Iraq.
Five Years after "Mission Accomplished"
On the 5th anniversary of President Bush’s declaration of "Mission Accomplished", the Center for American Progress will reflect on the past five years at war.
Remarks: "A Conversation with Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE)"
Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) will deliver a speech on U.S. national security and foreign policy at the Center for American Progress. Senator Hagel is a distinguished member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.