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If what is shaping up to be the worst foreign policy disaster in U.S. history has an upside, it is that the current war in Iraq should definitively, permanently settle a handful of critical questions about American conduct in the world. This book provides a list of those questions and even ventures some answers in the form of key lessons from Iraq.
The idea of assembling lessons as tools for avoiding the next war is less of a stretch than it seems, given the group of writers represented here. They include a Nobel Prize–winning economist; the former chief UN weapons inspector; and an Iraqi American whose weekly conversations with his relatives have given him a grim education on what living through a war to spread democracy is like on the ground. Also here is a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner who traces the recurring American bad habit of starting wars as tryouts for big ideas.
All societies need a ready reference handbook that draws some lines around its conduct of war. The Bush administration has produced a radical overhaul of the U.S. manual. Given the Iraq experience, it is urgent that we reject this version and think again. This book is a manageably sized, accessibly written, affordable compilation of key points that most urgently need to be rethought.
Including contributions by Hans Blix, Frances Fitzgerald, Chalmers Johnson, Michael Klare, Anas Shallal, Joseph Stiglitz, C.K. Williams, and others!
Introduction Miriam Pemberton 1
Prologue Anas Shallal 6
The Dangerous Leap: Preventive War Neta C. Crawford 12
American Imperialism: Enabler of War Chalmers Johnson 19
Ideas Floating Free: War as Demonstration Model Frances FitzGerald 25
A Motive Hiding in Plain Sight: War for Oil Michael T. Klare 32
To Avoid Future Iraq-Style Quagmires, Reduce U.S. Global Military Presence Ivan Eland 40
Ways and Means
Hidden Wounds and Accounting Tricks: Disguising the True Costs Joseph Stiglitz Linda Bilmes 48
Lies, Spies, and Legends: The Politicizing of Intelligence John Prados 65
Media Flagstones on the Path to War Norman Solomon 72
America's Slide: From Leadership to Isolation Jeffrey Laurenti 78
Inspections or Invasion: Lessons from Iraq Hans Blix 88
Coalition of the Coerced Phyllis Bennis 94
Monarchic Pretensions: The War Power Grab Fred Barbash 102
Torture No More Aziz Huq 108
The Shadow Army: Privatization Janine R. Wedel 116
Invitation to Steal: War Profiteering in Iraq William D. Hartung 124
The (Iraq) War on Civil Liberties Jules Lobel 129
Epilogue: War for Peace C. K. Williams 134
About the Contributors 138