Expert Alert: 10th anniversary of Iraq invasion provides important lessons, Baker Institute expert says

David Ruth
713-348-6327
david@rice.edu

Jeff Falk
713-348-6775
jfalk@rice.edu

10thanniversary of Iraq invasion provides important lessons, Baker Institute expert says
Barnes: We should not let the anniversary of the Iraq War pass without serious soul-searching

HOUSTON – (Dec. 11, 2012) – With talk of intervening in Syria and attacking Iran bubbling in Washington, it is critically important that the United States learn the unpleasant lessons of its invasion of Iraq, according to Joe Barnes, the Bonner Means Baker Fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Barnes has begun sharing his thoughts in a “Lessons of the Iraq War” blog series for the Baker Institute that will continue through March 2013, the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

In his first blog post, Barnes argues that the United States should not let the anniversary of the Iraq War pass without serious soul-searching. The reasons are threefold, he said:

  • “First, the war was, by any reasonable standard, a disaster, marked by deceptive justification, incompetent planning and — at least at the beginning — a grossly overoptimistic view of our ability to bring order to Iraq.
  • “Second, the Iraqi war was unnecessary. Iraq had not attacked us; it was not, despite assertions to the contrary, deeply involved in anti-U.S. terrorist activities; it was, after 10 years of economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation, a poor, weak country surrounded by enemies.
  • “Third and most importantly, the invasion of Iraq offers important lessons about how great powers make grave mistakes.”

From 1979 to 1993, Barnes was a career diplomat with the U.S. Department of State, serving in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.

The Baker Institute has a radio and television studio available for media who want to schedule an interview with Barnes. For more information, contact Jeff Falk, associated director of national media relations at Rice, at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.

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Related materials:

Barnes biography: http://bakerinstitute.org/personnel/fellows-scholars/jbarnes.

Founded in 1993, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston ranks among the top 20 university-affiliated think tanks globally and top 30 think tanks in the United States. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute sponsors more than 20 programs that conduct research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows and Rice University scholars. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog, http://blogs.chron.com/bakerblog.

About Jeff Falk