The Iraq War Case
(12 pages of text)
In March 2003, the U.S.-led coalition forces waged war on Iraq. After a few months, President George W. Bush declared Mission Accomplished. However, five years later, in 2008, the United States and other coalition forces remain in Iraq and are facing increased violence and casualties. The U.S. death toll is approximately 4,000 people whereas Iraqi deaths are estimated by conflicting sources to range from 150,000 to 1,033,000. This case examines the U.S. government's engagement in Iraq over the last four years and offers a brief background of the conflict. Next, it examines the statements made by the U.S. government to explain the purpose and aim of the war to the American people and the international community. The case describes the progress of the war as well as the U.S. government's response to that progress. The case is used to illustrate the ways in which ambiguous outcomes (the war in Iraq) are experienced by and responded to by actors (the U.S. government). This case has been developed to address two related issues: first, at business schools we teach students about success more than we teach them about failure. The case is written to make students more mindful about the way they use success, failure and the grey zone between success and failure to frame and make sense of events and experiences; the second issue is that students are not usually taught about the grey zone that exist between success and failure. The central idea of this theory is that although the success/failure dichotomy of evaluating organizational performance is simple and as a result, appealing, organizational life does not always comply with these categories.
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