POL 439
Spring 2009
Office: 123c
Office Hours:
M,W: 1:30-2:30



During the semester the war in Iraq will move into its seventh year. What was once expected to be the easy ouster of a dangerous tyrant that might amount the first step in remaking the Middle East has become a difficult, deteriorating, multifaceted war of occupation, attrition and sectarian vengence. This month the U.S. installs a new president on the heels of a set of altered military tactics and political strategy in hopes of salvaging its original goals in Iraq. Meanwhile provincial elections are also taking place in Iraq this month. Now is therefore an opportune time to take a step back and consider the origins and trajectory of this war.

Politics 439 will do this by examining the lead up to the invasion of Iraq, the invasion itself, the occupation and rise of the insurgency, and finally counterinsurgency and efforts to create political stability. The broader setting of the Global War on Terror, as well as Iraqi history and the trajectory of U.S.-Iraqi relations will also be considered. We will also examine the war from multiple points of view, from policymakers and advisors in Washington, the soldiers racing to Bagdhad in 2003, to ordinary Iraqis trying to live their lives.

Course Objectives

As a 400-level seminar, students are expected to enter the course possessing the tools to analyze politics, should possess some knowledge of international relations and broad U.S. foreign policy, and finally, will have kept up to date on developments relating to the Iraq war. By the time the course is over, students should be able to thoughtfully address the following questions:

Students will also further develop analytical skills along with those of writing and researching in the social science tradition.