OVERRIDE

Squandered Victory

The American Occupation and the Bungled Effort to Bring Democracy to Iraq

Larry Diamond

Times Books

America's leading expert on democracy delivers the first insider's account of the U.S. occupation of Iraq-a sobering and critical assessment of America's effort to implant democracy

In the fall of 2003, Stanford professor Larry Diamond received a call from Condoleezza Rice, asking if he would spend several months in Baghdad as an adviser to the the American occupation authorities. Diamond had not been a supporter of the war in Iraq, but he felt that the task of building a viable democracy was a worthy goal now that Saddam Hussein's regime had been overthrown. He also thought he could do some good by putting his academic expertise to work in the real world. So in January 2004 he went to Iraq, and the next three months proved to be more of an education than he bargained for.

Diamond found himself part of one of the most audacious undertakings of our time. In Squandered Victory he shows how the American effort to establish democracy in Iraq was hampered not only by insurgents and terrorists but also by a long chain of miscalculations, missed opportunities, and acts of ideological blindness that helped assure that the transition to independence would be neither peaceful nor entirely democratic. He brings us inside the Green Zone, into a world where ideals were often trumped by power politics and where U.S. officials routinely issued edicts that later had to be squared (at great cost) with Iraqi realities. His provocative and vivid account makes clear that Iraq-and by extension, the United States-will spend many years climbing its way out of the hole that was dug during the fourteen months of the American occupation.

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From Squandered Victory:
The American occupation of Iraq was slipping into a new phase of crisis and violence that it would never overcome. But none of this should have come as a surprise; coalition figures had been pleading for months for action against Muqtada al-Sadr, and against other militias as well. On the morning of March 31, I visited one of Sadr's most bitter and effective enemies, a moderate Shiite cleric, Sayyid Farqad al-Qizwini, who was preaching the compatibility of Islam and democracy, indeed the necessity of democracy for Islam.
In the days before my visit, Sadr's organization
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Larry Diamond

  • Larry Diamond is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and professor by courtesy of political science and sociology at Stanford University. He has also been the co-editor of the widely respected Journal of Democracy since its founding in 1990. From January to April of 2004, he served as a senior adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad. He lives in Stanford, California.
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    Squandered Victory

    The American Occupation and the Bungled Effort to Bring Democracy to Iraq

    Larry Diamond

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    Times Books

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