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President Bush Should 'Stay the Course' in Postwar Iraq to Ensure Battlefield Victory is not Lost, Says Council Task Force

March 12, 2003
Council on Foreign Relations

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Stabilization and Reconstruction Could Cost up to $20 Billion per Year for Several Years


March 12, 2003 - The President should “make clear to the Congress, to the American people, and to the people of Iraq that the United States will stay the course” after a war in Iraq, concludes the Council-sponsored Independent Task Force, Iraq: the Day After. Post-war stabilization and reconstruction could cost up to $20 billion a year for several years, and American public support is critical to sustaining that commitment.

(L-R)Task Force Co-Chairs Thomas R. Pickering
and James R. Schlesinger; Task Force Director
and Council Senior Fellow Eric Schwartz;
Task Force member Gordon R. Sullivan.
The blue-ribbon commission urges the President to stress two messages— to explain America’s vital interest in Iraq’s future to the American people, so they will be willing to bear the cost of peace stabilization and reconstruction; and to make the public commitment, so Iraqis understand the United States will not walk out before vital tasks are completed.

These are among the main findings of the Task Force, chaired by former Defense Secretary and Energy Secretary James R. Schlesinger and former UN Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering, and directed by Council Senior Fellow and former NSC aide Eric Schwartz. The nonpartisan Task Force includes a wide variety of regional, military and economic experts. (See list below.) While not taking a position on whether or not the United States should go to war, it does focus on what the Administration should do now to ensure that battlefield victory will not be lost by possible post-war failures.

“None of the other U.S. objectives in rebuilding Iraq would be realized in the absence of public security,” the report stresses. This means the U.S. military should deploy forces to prevent acts of reprisal and other lawlessness, and to provide humanitarian aid. In the early phases especially, the stability and public security mission could require between 75,000 and 200,000 or more troops, the report notes. The administration should sustain this public security mission throughout the transition by actively recruiting international civilian police (civpol) and constabulary forces to assist U.S. forces and train Iraqis.

Other major Task Force recommendations include:

Share the burden for post-conflict transition and reconstruction: The administration should move quickly to involve international organizations and other governments in post-conflict Iraq. U.S. officials should promote UN Security Council resolutions that endorse U.S. leadership on security and interim civil administration, but also authorize meaningful international participation— and shared decision-making— on humanitarian assistance, a new Iraqi constitution, the UN-supervised Oil for Food Program, and reconstruction.

Make stakeholders of the Iraqis throughout the transition process: The administration needs to ensure that Iraqis continue to play key roles in the administration of public institutions, subject to adequate vetting. Continuity of basic services will be essential and will require that thousands of Iraqi civil servants continue to do their jobs. The administration should move quickly to establish Iraqi consultative groups on political, constitutional, and legal issues, to limit the period of interim governance.

The Task Force report builds on the work of the Council-Baker Institute Working Group on Post-Conflict Iraq, which published Guiding Principles for U.S. Post-Conflict Policy in Iraq in December 2002. That report, co-chaired by former Ambassadors Edward Djerejian and Frank Wisner, provided a thoughtful and useful context for thinking about the post-war period, and a superb analysis of the energy sector.

The Schlesinger-Pickering panel defines about 30 additional actions necessary to win the peace, should war occur. They include:

Promoting the rule of law and accountability through legal and judicial reform, war crimes prosecutions and related issues;

Sustaining the UN Oil for Food program, but modifying it to better meet Iraqi needs while ensuring Iraqi involvement in decision-making;

Encouraging a regional security conference to examine regional confidence-building measures, external security guarantees, and nonproliferation.

Task Force co-chair James Schlesinger is the Chairman of the MITRE Corporation and a Senior Advisor at Lehman Brothers. He served several administrations in positions that included Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Energy and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Task Force co-chair Thomas R. Pickering is Senior Vice President, International Relations, at the Boeing Corporation. He completed a five-decade diplomatic career in December 2000 as Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs. He also served as U.S. Ambassador to the UN, the Russian Federation, India, Israel, El Salvador, Nigeria and Jordan.

Task Force project director Eric Schwartz is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral and Humanitarian Affairs at the National Security Council.


TASK FORCE MEMBERS

J. BRIAN ATWOOD is dean of the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. He served as the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development during the Clinton administration.

KENNETH H. BACON is the president and chief executive officer of Refugees International. Between 1994 and 2001, he served as the assistant secretary of Defense for Public Affairs and Pentagon spokesman.

EDWARD P. DJEREJIAN is the founding director of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy and serves as the Robert and Janice McNair chair in Public Policy and as the Edward A. and Hermena Hancock Kelly University chair for senior scholars. He has also served as deputy assistant secretary of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs.

JAMES F. DOBBINS is the Director of RAND’s Center for International Security and Defense Policy. He was ambassador the European Community (1991-1993), special assistant to the president for the Western Hemisphere (1996-1999) and assistant secretary of State for Europe (2001-2002). He served as the Clinton Administrations special envoy for Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo and most recently as the Bush Administrations special envoy for Afghanistan.

STANLEY FISCHER is the vice chairman of Citigroup and the president of Citigroup International. He has served as the first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund from September 1994 to August 2001 and as special adviser to the managing director from September 1, 2001 until January 31, 2002.

REND FRANCKE is currently the executive director of the Iraq Foundation. She has written extensively on Iraqi politics and is the coauthor of The Arab Shia: The Forgotten Muslims, published in 2000.

BART FRIEDMAN is a senior partner at Cahill, Gordon & Reindel and serves on the Brookings Institution Board of Trustees.

CARL SAMUEL GERSHMAN has been the president of the National Endowment for Democracy since his appointment in 1984.

JOHN C. HULSMAN is a research fellow in European Affairs, at the Davis Institute for International Studies at the Heritage Foundation.

JEANE J. KIRKPATRICK is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and professor emeritus at Georgetown University. She served as a U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations during the Reagan administration and was a member of President Reagan’s cabinet and National Security Council.

ELLEN LAIPSON is the president and chief executive officer of the Henry L. Stimson Center. She formerly served as the vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council.

ROBERT A. MALLEY is the director of the International Crisis Group’s Middle East Program and serves as senior policy advisor at the Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Development.

PHEBE MARR is a leading specialist on Iraq and was a senior fellow at the National Defense University.

EDWARD L. MORSE is a senior executive advisor at Hess Energy Trading.

GREGORY S. NEWBOLD is the executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. A retired lieutenant general, he was formerly the director of operations on the Joint Staff.

DIANE ORENTLICHER is a professor at American University's Washington College of Law.

THOMAS R. PICKERING, co-chair of the Task Force, is Senior Vice President for International Relations at Boeing. His diplomatic career spanned five decades, and included service as the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations. He retired from government in 2000 as undersecretary of State for Political Affairs.

JAMES A. PLACKE is currently a senior associate at Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Previously he was director for Middle East Research at CERA.

KENNETH M. POLLACK is a Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies and Director of Research, at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy. He served as Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council.

JAMES R. SCHLESINGER, co-chair of the Task Force, is the chairman of the MITRE Corporation’s Board of Trustees and is senior advisor at Lehman Brothers. He is also a counselor and trustee for the Center for Strategic and International Studies and chairman of the Executive Committee at The Nixon Center. He has served as secretary of Defense and secretary of Energy.

ERIC P. SCHWARTZ director of this Task Force, is a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He was on the National Security Council staff from 1993 to 2001, where he most recently served as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for Multilateral and Humanitarian Affairs.

JOHN M. SHALIKASHVILI is a visiting professor with the Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. He was formerly chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

RICHARD H. SOLOMON is President of the United States Institute of Peace. He formerly served as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

GORDON R. SULLIVAN is the President and Chief Operating Officer of the Association of the United States Army. He is also the former Chief of Staff of the Army.

FRANK G. WISNER is Vice Chairman of External Affairs at American International Group, Inc. Ambassador Wisner has served in a number of senior positions in the U.S. government, including Undersecretary of Defense for Policy from 1993 to 1994, and Undersecretary of State for International Security Affairs from 1992 to 1993.


To visit the Council’s new online Iraq Resource Center, go to /reg_index.php?id=6|35||1

Contact: Lisa Shields, Vice President, Communications, 212-434-9888