2003 Baker Institute–CFR Report Presages Chilcot Findings

On July 6, the British government released the findings of its inquiry into the 2003 invasion of Iraq in what has become known as the Chilcot report. The report evaluates the reasons, planning and aftermath of the invasion, concluding that the UK and U.S.-led coalition made deeply flawed decisions.

In late 2002, in the months before the invasion, the Baker Institute partnered with the Council on Foreign Relations to provide guidance not on the decision to go to war, but on managing the post-war landscape, which was certain to be critical to the success of the mission. The resulting report, Guiding Principles for U.S. Post-Conflict Policy in Iraq,” was provided to key policymakers and the public.

The report recommended, among other things, the swift reestablishment of law and order, and that the Iraqi armed forces and Ba’ath Party not be dismantled, lest the U.S. be forced to assume Iraq’s security and civilian administrative responsibilities. Unfortunately, the U.S. administration ignored these recommendations.

In light of the recent attention focused on this issue with the release of the Chilcot report, we are re-introducing the January 2003 report to highlight the value and foresight that nonpartisan experts can offer in guiding policy. A critical challenge for all think tanks, however, is finding receptive audiences among decision-makers.

Download the "Guiding Principles for U.S. Post-Conflict Policy in Iraq" below.