Squandered Victory : The American Occupation and the Bungled Effort to Bring Democracy to Iraq
"Chilling--and often scathing--detail . . . Should be read by anyone interested in understanding why the United States' quick military victory has given way to an increasingly virulent insurgency."--The New York Times
In the fall of 2003, Stanford professor Larry Diamond received a call from Condoleezza Rice, asking if he would spend several months in Baghdad as an adviser to the American occupation authorities. Diamond had not been a supporter of the war in Iraq, but he felt that the task of building a viable democracy was a worthy goal. But when he went to Iraq, his experiences proved to be more of an education than he bargained for.
Squandered Victory is Diamond's provocative and vivid account of how the American effort to establish democracy in Iraq was hampered not only by insurgents and terrorists but also by a long chain of miscalculations, missed opportunities, and acts of ideological blindness that helped assure that the transition to independence would be neither peaceful nor entirely democratic. And in a new Afterword for the paperback edition, Diamond shows how the ongoing instability in Iraq is a direct result of the shortsighted choices made during the fourteen months of the American occupation and the subsequent Iraqi interim government.
"A forceful and detailed critique of the invasion's aftermath. . . . A searing indictment." --The Wall Street Journal
"Larry Diamond has a flair for making incisive points at the right moment. . . . [Squandered Victory] explodes with the frustrations he felt working for the U.S. occupation." --The New Republic
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March 01, 2006
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Excerpt from Squandered Victory by Larry Diamond
From Squandered Victory:
The American occupation of Iraq was slipping into a new phase of crisis and violence that it would never overcome. But none of this should have come as a surprise; coalition figures had been pleading for months for action against Muqtada al-Sadr, and against other militias as well. On the morning of March 31, I visited one of Sadr's most bitter and effective enemies, a moderate Shiite cleric, Sayyid Farqad al-Qizwini, who was preaching the compatibility of Islam and democracy, indeed the necessity of democracy for Islam.
In the days before my visit, Sadr's organization had been widely distributing a leaflet denouncing Qizwini and his leading supporters as "pigs and dogs" who had defiled Islam and needed to be "stopped and silenced." Qizwini had been living under threat of assassination for months, but now this pseudo-religious call for his murder had raised the stakes.
Qizwini implored the United States to act immediately. "These militias will turn Iraq into a dark age of bloodletting if they are not stopped soon," he told me. "Any decision to dissolve the militias should be implemented in the next week." At that moment, I thought Qizwini's statement a bit hyperbolic in its urgency. But I did not realize that the dam was just about to burst, and that this dramatic day would essentially mark the end of my involvement with the American occupation.