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Building a blueprint 'rule of law' through military intervention has seized the imagination of practitioners and theorists alike in the past decade of peacebuilding operations, and an emphasis on simultaneous judicial reconstruction and security sector reform has emerged as their central strategy. This work, in a fresh approach based on recent military operations in Iraq and beyond, challenges both the universality of the blueprint and the doctrinal assumption that institutional reform by military interveners builds peace and legitimacy. In a comprehensive review, the essential role of the community in building its own relationship with law, while interveners refocus on an exclusive security-building mission using their extraordinary powers under international humanitarian law, emerges as the only future for 'rule of law operations.'