Skip to main content
Past Event

Preparing for War in Iraq: Protecting the Civilian Population

As America prepares for a possible war in Iraq, most planning in the humanitarian area is focused on the delivery of food, medicine, and shelter to Iraqi civilians. But assaults, reprisals, massacres, and other human rights abuses perpetrated against the civilian population during or following a war should also cause concern, and they could undermine support for the U.S. operation. So could military operations with heavy “collateral damage.”

A panel of experts will analyze and answer questions about how a U.S. military campaign can be waged in Iraq so as to provide maximum protection for civilians. Among the questions to be addressed are: What are the responsibilities of an “occupying power” under the Geneva Conventions? When and where are abuses most likely to occur? How ready are American armed forces, civil affairs officers, and aid workers to provide protection to civilians from Iraqi forces, inter-ethnic fighting, and mob retribution? What capacity do nongovernmental organizations and international agencies have? What role can the media play?



Roberta Cohen

Former Brookings Expert

Co-Chair Emeritus - Committee for Human Rights in North Korea



Christophe Girod

Head of Regional Delegation for North America and Canada, International Committee of the Red Cross


Larry Sampler

Consultant, Institute for Defense Analyses and USAID; Former U.S. Director of Operations, Afghan Emergency Loya Jirga


Roy Gutman

Senior Fellow, U.S. Institute of Peace, Chief Diplomatic Correspondent, Newsweek; Co-author, Crimes of War


Sandra Mitchell

Vice President, Government Relations/Advocacy, International Rescue Committee


Victor Tanner

Consultant on Humanitarian Issues; Faculty Member, Johns Hopkins SAIS; Co-author, The Internally Displaced People of Iraq (Brookings report, 2002)

More Information

To subscribe or manage your subscriptions to our top event topic lists, please visit our event topics page.


Get a weekly events calendar from Brookings