Episode 5, Season 2 of the Social Science of War is the first in a two-part series looking back at lessons learned from the United States’ war in Iraq. Major Gabe Royal is joined by Dr. Isaiah “Ike” Wilson III, a veteran and scholar of the conflict.

Part one of this conversation centers on Dr. Wilson’s book, Thinking Beyond War, and an op-ed he authored at the ten-year anniversary of the 101st Airborne Division’s invasion of Iraq, titled “Beyond COIN. ”We begin with a discussion of the prewar planning period and former Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki’s testimony before the Senate Armed Services committee in February 2003 regarding estimates of troop requirements. Dr. Wilson draws parallels between the outset of the Global War on Terrorism and Israel’s current conflict with Hamas. Finally, the discussion concludes with lessons learned regarding counterinsurgency and security force assistance brigades.

Dr. Wilson has over thirty-three years of experience in international affairs, most recently serving as the president of the Joint Special Operations University at US Special Operations Command following his time as the director of the Strategic Studies Institute at the US Army War College. He is a retired colonel with twenty-eight years of service in the US Army and a former professor in the Department of Social Sciences at West Point. As the chief of the US Central Command Commander’s Initiative Group, he directed and guided the command’s staff of over five thousand personnel in providing strategic and operations concepts and plans to the commander. His book Thinking Beyond War chronicles lessons learned from his time as chief of plans of the 101st Airborne Division during the invasion of Iraq.

The Social Science of War podcast is produced by the Department of Social Sciences at West Point. Visit our website if you would like to be a student or teach in the department, or if you would like to connect with any of our instructors based on their expertise.

Kyle Atwell created the Social Science of War. Hosts on Season 2 of the podcast are Dr. Nakissa JahanbaniDr. Alexandra ChinchillaLieutenant Colonel Sean McKnight, and Major Gabriel Royal. Please reach out to the podcast team with any questions about this episode or the Social Science of War podcast in general.

Image credit: Staff Sgt. Caleb Barrieau, US Army (adapted by MWI)