The Iraq Papers, Edited by John Ehrenberg, J. Patrice McSherry, Jose Ramon Sanchez and Caroleen Marji Sayej. Oxford University Press, 2009.
No foreign policy decision in recent history has had greater repercussions than President George W. Bush’s decision to invade and occupy Iraq. It launched a new doctrine of preemptive war, mired the American military in an intractable armed conflict, disrupted world petroleum supplies, cost the United States hundreds of billions of dollars, and damaged or ended the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans and Iraqis. Its impact on international politics and America’s standing in the world remains incalculable.
The Iraq Papers offers a compelling documentary narrative and interpretation of this momentous conflict. With keen editing and incisive commentary, the book weaves together original documents that range from presidential addresses to redacted memos, carrying us from the ideology behind the invasion to negotiations for withdrawal. These papers trace the rise of the neoconservatives and reveal the role of strategic thinking about oil supplies. In moving to the planning for the war itself, the authors not only provide Congressional resolutions and speeches by President Bush, but internal security papers, Pentagon planning documents, the report of the Future of Iraq Project, and eloquent opposition statements by Senator Robert Byrd, other world governments, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the World Council of Churches. This collection addresses every aspect of the conflict, from the military’s evolving counterinsurgency strategy to declarations by Iraqi resisters and political figures-from Coalition Provisional Authority orders to Donald Rumsfeld’s dismissal of the insurgents as “dead-enders” and Iraqi discussions of state- and nationbuilding under the shadow of occupation. The economics of petroleum, the legal and ethical questions surrounding terrorism and torture, international agreements, the theory of the “unitary presidency,” and the Bush administration’s use of presidential signing statements all receive in-depth coverage.
The Iraq War has reshaped the domestic and international landscape. The Iraq Papers offers the authoritative one-volume source for understanding the conflict and its many repercussions.
Thanks and a tip of the FGI hat to Steven Aftergood who says that “Somewhat heavy-handedly, [the editors] offer their own interpretation of events involving the decisive influence of neo-conservatives, the unitary executive, and a U.S. drive to global hegemony, among other factors. Alternative explanations are not considered here.”
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