The United States and Iraq Since 1990 - A BriefHistory with Documents
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This book offers a concise history of US policy in Iraq since 1990 and how it has evolved over two decades.
  • Examines US relations with Iraq from both a regional and international perspective
  • Argues that the only way to clearly understand US policy toward Iraq is to see it in its proper historical context and within a transnational framework
  • Uses recently declassified documents at the end of each chapter to illustrate US decision-making in the wars for Iraq
  • Addresses the importance of the changing domestic climate surrounding two decades


Robert K. Brigham is the Shirley Ecker Boskey Professor of History and International Relations at Vassar College, USA. He is the author of numerous publications on American foreign relations including Iraq,Vietnam and the Limits ofAmerican Power (2008) and Is Iraq Another Vietnam? (2006).


Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xv

Dramatis Personae xvii

Maps xxii

1 The First Gulf War, 1990–1991 1

Chronology 1

George H.W. Bush and the New World Order 8

Iraq Invades Kuwait 10

Building the Coalition against Saddam 15

Operation Desert Storm 20

Documents: 29

Document 1-A, Excerpts from National Security Directive 26, “U.S. Policy Toward the Persian Gulf,” October 2, 1989 29

Document 1-B, Meeting between Saddam Hussein and U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie, excerpts from April Glaspie memorandum, July 25, 1990 31

Document 1-C, United Nations Resolution 660, August 2, 1990 33

Document 1-D, United Nations Resolution 678, November 29, 1990 34

Document 1-E, Excerpts from National Security Directive 54, January 15, 1991 35

Document 1-F, Excerpts from speech by Saddam Hussein, February 11, 1991, Iraqi News Agency-Baghdad Radio 37

2 Clinton and Containment, 1992–2001 39

Chronology 39

Containment Plus 52

Regime Change 54

Documents: 64

Document 2-A, Excerpts from United Nations Resolution 687, April 6, 1991 64

Document 2-B, Excerpts from “Intelligence Successes and Failures in Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm,” U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Armed Services, 103rd Congress, 1st session, August 1993 73

Document 2-C, Excerpts from the remarks of Anthony Lake, assistant to the president for national security affairs, “From Containment to Enlargement,” Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies, Washington, D.C., September 21, 1993 74

Document 2-D, Remarks of the Honorable Ibrahim M. Al-Shaheen, deputy chairman of the Kuwaiti National Committee for P.O.W.s in Iraq, August 6, 2006, U.S. House Committee on International Relations, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations 80

Document 2-E, Letter dated May 5, 2001, from the permanent representative of Iraq to the United Nations addressed to the secretary general, United Nations, New York 81

Document 2-F, Text of President Clinton’s address to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Pentagon staff, Washington, D.C., February 17, 1998 84

Document 2-G, Project for a New American Century, Statement of Principles, June 3, 1997 90

3 The Invasion of Iraq, 2003 93

Chronology 93

Connecting Terrorists to Iraq 96

The Bush Doctrine 100

The Legal Debate 109

The War Plan 111

The War Begins 114

Documents: 120

Document 3-A, Excerpts from George W. Bush’s State of the Union address, January 29, 2002 120

Document 3-B, Excerpts from “The National Security of the United States of America,” September 2002 122

Document 3-C, “The Problem of the Shia,” July 2002 123

Document 3-D, Unclassifi ed report to Congress on the acquisition of technology relating to weapons of mass destruction and advanced conventional munitions, July 1–December 2002 136

Document 3-E, Excerpts from H.J. 114, Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq, 107th Congress, 2nd session, October 2, 2002 138

Document 3-F, “The Downing Street Memo,” from Matthew Rycroft, private secretary to Prime Minister Tony Blair, to David Manning, British ambassador to the United States, July 23, 2002 141

Document 3-G, Excerpts from U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell’s presentation at the United Nations Security Council, February 6, 2003 144

Document 3-H, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Negroponte’s letter to Ambassador Mamady Traore, president of the United Nations Security Council, March 20, 2003 146

4 The Deadliest Fighting, 2003–2006 148

Chronology 148

The Battle of Fallujah 150

Human Rights and Abu Ghraib 156

The Coalition Provisional Authority 159

General Casey and the Iraqi Civil War 164

Documents: 172

Document 4-A, Excerpts from Coalition Provisional Authority briefi ng with General John Abizaid, commander, U.S. Central Command, and Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez, commander, CJTF-7, April 12, 2004 172

Document 4-B, Excerpts from memorandum for William J. Haynes II, general counsel of the Department of Defense, “Military Interrogation of Alien Unlawful Combatants Held Outside the United States,” March 14, 2003, U.S. Department of Justice, Offi ce of Legal Counsel 173

Document 4-C, Testimony of Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld before the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, 7 May 2004 175

Document 4-D, Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number One: “De-Baathifi cation of Iraqi Security,” Coalition Provisional Authority, Baghdad, Iraq, May 16, 2003 181

Document 4-E, Excerpts from the Constitution of Iraq, October 2005, Iraqi News Agency 182

Document 4-F, Excerpts from “National Strategy for Victory in Iraq,” National Security Council, November 30, 2005 187

5 The Surge, 2006–2008 190

Chronology 190

A Change in Tactics 197

Surging in Iraq 202

Domestic Critics of the Surge 205

Documents: 214

Document 5-A, Excerpts from the Iraq Study Group Report, December 6, 2006 214

Document 5-B, Fred Kagan, “Choosing Victory,” January 5, 2007, American Enterprise Institute 217

Document 5-C, Excerpts from U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual 220

Document 5-D, Excerpts from “Iraq First: The National Security Strategy of Iraq,” Republic of Iraq – the Cabinet 221

Document 5-E, Excerpts from President George W. Bush’s speech to the nation on the Iraq War, January 10, 2007 224

Document 5-F, Excerpts from Senator Barack Obama’s speech before the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, April 23, 2007 227

6 Obama’s War, 2009–2011 230

Chronology 230

The Planned Withdrawal 233

Human Rights Concerns in Iraq 238

Documents: 248

Document 6-A, Status of Forces Agreement, 2008 248

Document 6-B, Transcript of President Obama’s remarks, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, February 27, 2009 266

Document 6-C, Excerpts from the Obama administration’s National Security Strategy, May 2010 274

Document 6-D, U.S. State Department, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, excerpts from Annual Human Rights Report, Iraq–2011 275

Document 6-E, Speech at the White House by Prime Minister al-Maliki, December 21, 2011, Radio Free Iraq 277

Epilogue: The Future 280

List of Documents 284

Suggestions for Additional Reading 289

Index 292


“This is the work of a master historian. Robert Brigham’s excellent book on the US and Iraq since 1990 provides first rate historical analysis supported by key primary documents and in a highly readable fashion.  It will become the baseline text for courses on Iraq, and rightly so.”
‒ Colonel Gian P. Gentile, United States Military Academy at West Point

“This volume will spark debate and impel students and scholars alike to think deeply about the wisdom and efficacy of utilizing military force.”
‒ Melvyn P. Leffler, University of Virginia

“A truly important contribution that gives readers a succinct account of American-Iraqi relations through two decades of war and controversy, along with the major documents behind the policy decisions.”
‒ Lloyd Gardner, Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University

“Brigham masterfully has combined primary source documents with elucidating historical analysis. Indispensable for any student hoping to gain a genuine understanding of American foreign policy towards Iraq since 1990.”
‒ Gregory A. Daddis, United States Military Academy at West Point