In this online lesson students explore the human, economic, social, and political costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Why did the United States invade Iraq in 2003?
Second edition. April 2017.
Perhaps no governmental decision requires more public scrutiny than the decision to go to war. The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 had monumental effects on both countries and fundamentally altered the relationship between the United States and the rest of the world. In the years since the invasion, the cost in lives and dollars has been higher than expected, the initial justifications for the invasion have been found false, and the future of Iraq remains uncertain. A Global Controversy: The U.S. Invasion of Iraq provides an overview of Iraqi history and draws students into the public debate over the U.S. government’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003. Students assess the war’s effects on the United States, Iraq, and beyond, and consider the public’s role in foreign policy decisions.
Students trace the history of Iraq and explore U.S.-Iraq relations during the twentieth century. Students examine the events leading up to the 2003 invasion, and explore the effects of the war on Iraqi society, the United States, and the international community.
The Geography of IraqStudents practice map–reading skills and consider how geography has affected Iraqi history. Students explore the history of Ottoman and British influence in the region, as well as Iraq's ethnic and religious distribution, oil infrastructure, and major geographical features.
Life in Iraq–1932Students analyze photographs of Iraq from 1932 to explore Iraqi life and society during this time period. Students consider the benefits and limitations of using photographs as a source for learning about Iraqi history.
The Media and the Iraq WarStudents examine the media's coverage of Colin Powell's speech before the United Nations. Students analyze the role of the media in a democracy and consider strategies for reading news critically.
The Choices Role PlayStudents simulate the debate among U.S. citizens in 2003 over the proposed invasion of Iraq.
Reflecting on the WarUsing Choices videos, students explore the effects of the Iraq War and consider how the lessons of Iraq should influence current and future U.S. foreign policy.
Personal Stories as Historical SourcesStudents analyze a variety of primary sources that offer first-hand accounts and reflections about the Iraq War. This lesson challenges students to evaluate the war from the perspectives of people who experienced it and to think critically about the value of personal narratives in understanding history.
- Charles Tripp
- October 21, 2010
- Jack Reed
- February 25, 2011
Includes six maps that are used in the readings and lessons.
For use with the lesson "Life in Iraq—1932."
Videos by Arte, a public Franco-German TV network. They are for use with the lesson “Personal Stories as Historical Sources.”
Additional reference material for added context and support.
Cleveland, William L., and Martin P. Bunton. A History of the Modern Middle East. Sixth edition. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2016.
Ehrenberg, John J., and Marji Sayej, Caroleen, and McSherry, Patrice, and Ramón Sánchez, José, eds. The Iraq Papers. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2010.
Gerges, Fawaz A. ISIS: A History. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016.
Gordon, Joy. Invisible War: The United States and the Iraq Sanctions. Cambridge, MA; London, England: Harvard University Press, 2010.
Ricks, Thomas E. Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq. New York, NY: The Penguin Press, 2006.
Sassoon, Joseph. The Iraqi Refugees: The New Crisis in the Middle East. London, England; New York, NY: I. B. Tauris, 2011.
Shadid, Anthony. Night Draws Near: Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2005.
Tripp, Charles. A History of Iraq. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2002.