The rise of the Information Age has led to new communication-based technologies that have revolutionized life for people around the globe. Not only have these technologies completely altered mans social life, they have also wholly changed military conflicts. This technology has catalyzed a shift from a hierarchical based military, such as the one employed by the United States, to a more network based system, where combatants have a network of communication and coordination spread out with no specific command center, embodied by Al-Qaeda. This hierarchy versus network conflict is obviously exemplified by the conflict Iraq, and has forced the US to rethink its military strategy to combat this new enemy. The first step the United States should take to defeat a networked enemy is to abandon their dependence on heavy arms and refocus on human intelligence gathering. Conflicts against networks cannot be won with overwhelming force. Because each network is by nature spread out and hidden, it is not like traditional warfare where two armies stand opposing each other using sheer firepower to defeat the other. Network wars are wars in which communication and information pass through imperceptible connections that a traditional power cannot defeat simply because it is impossible to confront and destroy every part of a network at once, regardless of firepower. Therefore, instead of relying on munitions to win the war, the US must rely on human intelligence gathering to defeat network based enemies such as Al-Qaeda. In order to defeat a network, it is absolutely crucial to understand how the network is structured, who holds power, and the operations of the network. This information cannot be obtained from books or television. Instead, it is imperative for the US to have people on the ground, interacting with civilians, becoming embedded in society so that they can work through Iraqi citizens to obtain the information needed to reveal the true nature of the enemy network. Only with proper intelligence regarding the form of the network can vulnerabilities be isolated and tactics formed. This technique of focusing on human intelligence is a crucial skill that the US must master to be victorious in Iraq. A further example of its importance comes not only from the necessity of dismantling network organizations such as Al-Qaeda, but also from the necessity of depleting them of their weapons. The prevalence of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in Iraq and Afghanistan has been a major challenge to US and coalition forces. By looking beyond just identifying and avoiding IEDs, and instead attempting to identify and target the social networks and individuals who actually create the IEDs the US can more effectively combat their use. Therefore, in order for the US to win the conflict against Al-Qaeda in Iraq, it is essential that Americans become embedded in society, learning more about the structure and social context of organizations in order to identify and exploit their weaknesses. However, not only does the US need to rethink their strategy for fighting against networks, they also need to consider the ramifications of leaving Iraq. In less structured network organizations, the entity relies on unity derived from a common goal or purpose, since there is no hierarchical structure to connect individual members. In Iraq the common goal holding together the network of insurgent forces is the remove the United States and other foreign troops from the country. If this goal is accomplished and the United States withdraws from Iraq without attacking the networks, or if the US declares victory and withdraws without totally eradicating the networks, it stands to reason that this loss of a common goal will result in the disintegration of the insurgent network. It is impossible to estimate exactly how many fighters there are in Iraq, and more importantly, who these fighters are and what organization they represent. However, if they were to lose that common purpose one can expect them to begin fighting about other issues such as territory, money or arms. This unrest has the potential to catalyze a civil war in Iraq, leaving Americas efforts null and void. Thus, the US must not only revamp their strategies for fighting in Iraq, they must also change their strategies for peace in the nation as well. The network structure makes human intelligence gathering crucial. Only through gathering information about hidden enemy networks can the US actually defeat them. Furthermore, the loosely connected nature of these networks makes the loss of a common goal exceptionally dangerous. The only way to avoid a conflagration once coalition troops withdraw is to properly combat and destroy the enemy networks in Iraq, a situation which is possible if the proper techniques are employed.