Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience

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9780160808173: Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience

Product Description:

The billions of dollars expended in Iraq constitute the largest relief and reconstruction exercise in American history.  SIGIR’s lessons learned capping report characterizes this effort in four phases (pre-war to ORHA, CPA, post-CPA/Negroponte era, and Khalilzad, Crocker, and the Surge).  From this history, SIGIR forwards a series of conclusions and recommendations for Congress to consider when organizing for the next post-conflict reconstruction situation.

 Over the past five years, the United States has provided nearly fifty billion dollars for the relief and reconstruction of Iraq. This unprecedented rebuilding program, implemented after the March 2003 invasion, was developed to restore Iraq’s essential services, build Iraq’s security forces, create a market-based economy, and establish a democratic government—all in pursuit of U.S. interests in a stable and free Iraq. Did the U.S. rebuilding program achieve its objectives? Was the money provided well-spent or wasted? What lessons have we learned from the experience?

Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience, a report from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), answers these and other important questions by presenting a comprehensive history of the U.S. program, chiefly derived from SIGIR’s body of extensive oversight work in Iraq, hundreds of interviews with key figures involved with the reconstruction program, and thousands of documents evidencing the reconstruction work that was – or was not - done. The report examines the limited pre-war planning for reconstruction, the shift from a large infrastructure program to a more community-based one, and the success of the “Surge” in 2007 and beyond. Hard Lessons concludes that the U.S. government did not have the structure or resources in place to execute the mammoth relief and reconstruction plan it took on in 2003. The lessons learned from this experience create a basis for reviewing and reforming the U.S. approach to contingency relief and reconstruction operations.

 

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About the Author:

The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) was created in October 2004 by a congressional amendment to Public Law 108-106. The amendment gives SIGIR authority to oversee Iraq reconstruction programs and operations. Specifically, SIGIR is mandated with the oversight responsibility of the use, and potential misuse, of the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund and all obligations, expenditures, and revenues associated with reconstruction and rehabilitation activities in Iraq. SIGIR reports administratively to the Secretaries of State and Defense. SIGIR provides quarterly and semi-annual reports directly to the U.S. Congress.

Review:

Here is what key leaders of the U.S. efforts in Iraq say about Hard Lessons:

Hard Lessons is a wide-ranging examination of U.S. reconstruction efforts in Iraq that presents well-considered lessons for today and for future such endeavors. It provides a thorough analysis of the innumerable challenges the mission in Iraq has faced -- some of which Iraq's leaders must still resolve to realize the full potential of the 'Land of the Two Rivers.' It is a 'must read' for those seeking to understand what transpired in Iraq since its liberation in 2003 and what we might learn from helping the Iraqis establish a new state in an ancient land.
-General David Petraeus
Commander, Multi-National Force-Iraq
(2007-2008)

This comprehensive look at U.S. reconstruction efforts in Iraq contains thoughtful lessons learned that the Congress and the Administration should consider. The book represents an extraordinary effort and provides a broad review of reconstruction, integrating many aspects of the fundamental challenges facing the U.S. in Iraq today.

-Ambassador Ryan Crocker
U.S. Ambassdor to Iraq
(2007-2009)
During my time as Ambassador to Iraq, I looked to SIGIR to provide me with real-time reconstruction reporting that gave me insight into the complex program under my charge. Hard Lessons is an important and timely study and should be required reading to inform all future U.S. efforts to conduct overseas contingency relief and reconstruction operations in conflict and post-conflict situations.

-Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad
U.S. Ambassador to Iraq
(2005-2006)

As the employment of "soft" power increasingly assumes significance in military operations, Hard Lessons offers valuable insights for the integrated civilian-military team. To make an accurate estimate of the situation, commanders at all levels must consider the impacts of infrastructure, essential services, and reconstruction on their operational environments. The SIGIR's hands-on, independent oversight amidst Iraq's complex environment continues to enhance our stewardship of national resources to assure that the United States can assist Iraqi leaders to complete the critical transitions essential to the creation of a secure and stable state and ally and it will provide lessons that must be applied to future operations and doctrine for years to come.

-General Ray Odierno
Commander, Multi-National Force-Iraq
(2007-2008)


This comprehensive look at U.S. reconstruction efforts in Iraq contains thoughtful lessons learned that the Congress and the Administration should consider. The book represents an extraordinary effort and provides a broad review of reconstruction, integrating many aspects of the fundamental challenges facing the U.S. in Iraq today.

-Ambassador Ryan Crocker
U.S. Ambassdor to Iraq
(2007-2009)


Government Inc. blog by Robert O' Harrow, Jr. (cited in the Washington Post http://voices.washingtonpost.com/government-inc/2008/12/_after_briefly_considering_ask.html)

"Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience, a 500-plus page tome that comprises interviews with "hundreds of individuals" and a "review of thousands of documents." 

It is an official history that essentially offers the perspective of Stuart Bowen, chief of the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), on efforts by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). 

In short, the whole thing turned into a vast money hole into which the Pentagon poured billions "

Federal News Radio, May 6, 2009 4:08pm http://www.federalnewsradio.com/?nid=17&sid=1670344

"The tactical and strategic lessons learned from Irarq from the basis of a new book by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.  Stuart Bowen talked about that book "Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience" at an event hosted by the Heritage Foundation yesterday (May 5, 2009)

 

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