In This Review

U.S. Policy in Post-Saddam Iraq: Lessons from the British Experience
U.S. Policy in Post-Saddam Iraq: Lessons from the British Experience
By Michael Eisenstadt et al.
Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2003, 84 pp

True, "lessons from history" are tricky. But the idea that the evolving history of the United States' interaction with Iraq since 2001 is a rerun of the United Kingdom's in 1917 is compelling. The target country, although much changed in the intervening eight-plus decades, still demonstrates cultural, ethnic, and linguistic continuity. Each invader pledged liberation, not conquest. Each implemented a thorough regime change. Each confronted the problem of choosing between "inside" leadership and "outside" leadership (e.g., the non-Iraqi Faisal and the long-exiled Ahmed Chalabi) to construct a new Iraqi government. Bureaucratic rivalries beset both occupiers, and the conflict between the U.S. Departments of Defense and State today were prefigured by those between the United Kingdom's India Office and its Foreign Office. Five succinct chapters and a conclusion help one "remember" and thus the United Kingdom's history in Iraq may help the Americans avoid repeating it. It is, after all, a past well remembered by Iraqis.