Naval War College Review


Iraq’s undiminished insurgency has cast an unmistakable pall over the U.S. mili- tary’s nation-building mission, which until recently seemed a core compe- tency for the Department of Defense. Both advocates and critics of America’s efforts to bring peace, order, and good government to Baghdad agree that the aftermath of the Balkan wars of the 1990s offers examples of what was not done in the wake of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM’S epic Phase III success in spring 2003. The idea that extended U.S. military operations in Bosnia and Kosovo have resulted in long-term po- litical successes built on well executed nation-building is accepted almost without question. But is it so?