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The War Over Iraq: Saddam's Tyranny and America's Mission Hardcover – February 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Between the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the current crisis over Iraq, neoconservative thinkers such as Kristol (editor of the Weekly Standard) worked to keep Saddam Hussein at the center of the U.S. foreign policy agenda. In this slim, well-argued book, Kristol and Kaplan, a senior editor at the New Republic, cogently make the case for a U.S. invasion of Iraq. The rationale behind the Bush administration's preemptive strategy, they write, is that Saddam Hussein is a dictator who threatens both his own people and the world, and therefore must be stopped before he does further harm. The weaknesses in the authors' case are the same as many find in the administration's-such as that the ties between Saddam and al-Qaeda are unclear, which Kristol and Kaplan acknowledge. But, they continue, "we do know that Saddam is a terrorist." Just as importantly, the book criticizes the policy of both the latter years of the first Bush administration and the Clinton years for allowing the Iraq threat to fester. Both governments had their reasons-Bush I's pragmatism and Clinton's focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict-but the world is much worse off, say Kristol and Kaplan. The background for a case for a U.S. strike is articulated well here.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"Anyone who harbors doubt about the imperative of regime change in Iraq...should read this book." -- Senator John McCain

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 170 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books (February 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1893554694
  • ISBN-13: 978-1893554696
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,836,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By gsundar on September 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As the founder of the influential conservative think-tank American Patriots who Never Fought In War But Advocate Violent Imperialism In the New American Century (APNFWAVINAC), Kristol successfully promoted the idea that a group of draft-dodging muddle-headed bureaucrats should be the main decision makers when it comes to America going to war. APNFWAVINAC made it a primary goal of the U.S. to liberate the good people of the Arab and Muslim countries that Kristol loves so much from their tyrannical leaders, just so long as none of their own children had to fight. APNFWAVINAC published the historic open letter to George W. Bush titled Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iraq, advocating the violent overthrow of the Iraqi leader in order to free the good people of Iraq. John McCain used the letter as the source of a hilarious and much beloved joke during his 2008 presidential campaign.

Among the high level members of APNFWAVINAC who were signatories to the famous letter were other great intellectuals and patriots such as Paul "never served in the military but I have a girlfriend at age 62" Wolfowitz, Douglas "f***ing stupidest guy on earth" Feith, John "kiss-up, kick-down" Bolton, Dick "no bid contract for my war profiteering Haliburton pals and we're in the last throws of the insurgency" Cheney, as well as many other brilliant and highly accomplished warriors and scholars of world history and military strategy. These APNFWAVINAC members were so deeply troubled by reports of Iraqis being terrorized by Saddam that they felt they had to intervene with their carefully researched and passionately presented plea to Bush to bomb Iraq. Kristol even volunteered to join the Army in order to defend the Iraqi people that he loved so dearly and to support the military that he has revered all of his life.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Graymac on April 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Kaplan and Kristol add an interesting perspective to the debate over the war in Iraq. Their argument is that this war is definitely not about oil, and not just or even mainly about weapons of mass destruction. It is about liberating Iraq and making the world both more democratic and a safer place for democracy. It's a breezy, argumentative book, not really so much an attempt to convince opponents of the war as an attempt to stake a theoretical claim that something they call a distinctly American internationalism is what informs the Bush Administration's action against Iraq. Naturally, Clinton's Administration is targetted for particular contempt, but interestingly enough Bush I and even Reagan are also criticised as narrow realists.
What's missing from this analysis is any sense of history and of how the US is perceived outside its borders--and even outside the Beltway. Not everyone is going to be able to accept the notion that the US should simply be trusted to do the right thing. The book's authors clearly have either no idea or--scarier still--no interest in how a book like this will be read by people who have either watched or experienced first-hand a less-than-idealistic USA in action.
At the precise time of writing (Baghdad seems to have fallen today) and for the next few months, the Kristol/Kaplan theory will be riding high. But whatever this book claims, what they charitably consider to be activist idealism is not going to turn into doctrine. It won't because the US is always going to feel the need for the moral flexibility that realism offers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cthulhu #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on December 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Bill Krystol's book was part of a massive, well coordinated propaganda effort aimed to scare the American public into approving and, in fact supporting Bush's disastrous and ruinous invasion of Iraq. Bill Krystol and his colleagues, using Goebbels-type tactics (keep repeating the same outrageous lies and do it loudly and people will eventually believe you) abused their elevated positions in the government and/or in the media establishment to sow fear, confusion, hatred. All these lies had and have consequences. What we harvested was:

- More than 4000 perfectly good Americans dead
- Tens or hundreds of thousands of Americans physically or psychologically crippled
- Trillions of dollars absurdly wasted to destroy and then attempt to rebuild a country
- America's international credibility at its lowest ever
- Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed or crippled
- A country in ruins
- Militant, anti-American jihadism increased and more popular than ever

Who benefits? Not the United States, for sure. The families left behind could have used the thousands dead or disabled and we could have used the trillions of dollars to build our own country instead of destroying someone else's. We would rather not see our president bombarded with shoes and called a war criminal and torturer in chief by millions all over the world.

It's important to read this book because Bill Krystol and his colleagues continue to try to scare and confuse us.
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