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The War over Iraq: Saddam's Tyranny and America's Mission Hardcover – February 1, 2003
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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Anyone who harbors doubt about the imperative of regime change in Iraq...should read this book." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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For K and K, the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq fits this definition to the T. Hussein routinely violated the 1948 Gencide Convention forbidding the use of chemical weapons. In fact Hussein used WMD's against his own people. Hussein is a "predator of the 21st century" who flaunts his destructive powers. "Iraq's efforts to acquires WMD's long predate the Gulf War..." (page 27).
In the 1990's the US did nothing to confront a tyrant bent on conquest. The senior President Bush halted the Persian Gulf War prematurely. The Clinton adminstration simply failed to confront the moral and strategic challange of Hussein. K and K call these modes of thinking "narrow realism" and "wishful liberalism." K and K claim that the US policy toward Iraq was simply one of ambivalenceabout the use of force as an instrument of policy (page 51). It was the fate and duty of Dubya (a nickname he has accepted for years) Bush to watch Hussein's arsenal grow ever more threatening and to deal with it.
This book is so full of deception that I don't know where to begin calling its authors a couple of liars. Let's try here: Kristol is identified in the blurb on the dust jacket as a political analyst for the Fox News Network. It is more important that Kristol is chairman for a political think tank founded in 1997 called the Project for a New American Century. Other members of this think tank include Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Lewis Libby, John Bolton, the current ambassador to Iraq, and *Jeb Bush*.
Web searches will show that PNAC maintains a militaristic view of US policy toward the world. Web searches will also show that Hussein received some of his WMD's from the US in the 1990's, that he reduced them in the latter 1990's (which K and K don't mention), and that the CIA told the Dubya admin that Iraq had no WMD's six months before the attack on Iraq, etc.
PNAC has the idea that the US can set its own destiny in the 21st century by being militarily aggressive and by maintaining a moral high road. So far PNAC has gotten the rest of us Americans lots of grief over lost loved ones and an incursion into Iraq with no end in sight... and a huge national debt.
Whether you agree with the war or not, this book is probably as close as you can get to have an extensive conversation with Wolfowitz about his reasoning for pushing the removal of Saddam through military means. If you think that oil is the reason for the Iraq war and every action by this government is regulated through the Halliburton front office, every page in this book will get your blood boiling. Just as in the official hearings or speeches by government officials, oil is not given as a reason for the war.
But if you are against the war and look for weaknesses in the political justification for the war, this book is a reference manual for building your arguments. It details the historical roots of the current government's foreign policy and cites the best examples (in their opinion) why Saddam has to be removed now and not 5 years later.
If you support the war, this book may give you additional arguments to support your case or will simply reinforce your opinion.
Written by Kristol, who has previously taught political science, and Kaplan, who is senior editor of The New Republic, this book is overall well referenced (contrast that to Ann Coulter's books) and an easy read for people interested in political sciences.
Just to clear things up, Rhea's assertion that the official Pentagon civilian death estimate in Iraq in case of a new war is 500,000 is not true. The Pentagon is not in the business of making public any such estimates. There is a UN estimate for refugees at 500,000 which may be confusing Rhea. You may attach to the UN whatever credibility you wish to.
To scale the issue, even Hussein claims 3,000 civilian deaths during Gulf War I and he has every reason to exaggerate the number. Those represent 3,000 tragedies, but that number represents a two order-of-magnitude smaller figure than the 500,000 figure cited by Rhea for any future war.
PBS's Frontline has shown that the estimates of the total number of military deaths in Iraq has dramatically decreased over time as people have more carefully considered the data. This was because equipment rather than troops were targeted.
If war happens there are two factors that will tend to both increase and decrease the number of civilian deaths. If a war results in door-to-door fighting in Baghdad (let's hope not) this will certainly increase the number of civilian casualties. On the other hand, any new war would use a far greater number of "smart" bombs. That will tend to decrease accidental civilians casualties.