The Iraq War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions

The Iraq War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions

by Christopher Cerf, Micah L Sifry

NOOK Book(eBook)

View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now


Despite the torrent of coverage devoted to war with Iraq, woefully little attention has been paid to the history of the region, the policies that led to the conflict, and the daunting challenges that will confront America and the Middle East once the immediate crisis has ended. In this collection, Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf, coeditors of the acclaimed Gulf War Reader, have assembled essays and documents that present an eminently readable, up-to-the-moment guide -- from every imaginable perspective -- to the continuing crisis in the Gulf and Middle East.
Here, in analysis and commentary from some of the world's leading writers and opinion makers -- and in the words of the key participants themselves -- is the engrossing saga of how oil economics, power politics, dreams of empire, nationalist yearnings, and religious fanaticism -- not to mention naked aggression, betrayal, and tragic miscalculation -- have conspired to bring us to the fateful collision of the West and the Arab world over Iraq. Contributors include:
Fouad Ajami
George W. Bush
Richard Butler
John le Carré
Noam Chomsky
Ann Coulter
Thomas Friedman
Al Gore
Seymour Hersh
Christopher Hitchens
Arianna Huffington
Saddam Hussein
Terry Jones
Robert Kagan
Charles Krauthammer
William Kristol
Nicholas Lemann
Kanan Makiya
Kevin Phillips
Kenneth Pollack
Colin Powell
Condoleezza Rice
Arundhati Roy
Edward Said
William Safire
Jonathan Schell
Susan Sontag
George Will

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743255929
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 05/15/2003
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 736
File size: 881 KB

About the Author

Christopher Cerf is an Emmy and Grammy award-winning author, composer, and producer. A charter contributing editor of the National Lampoon, Cerf has written more than 300 songs for Sesame Street and co-edited the celebrated newspaper parody Not The New York Times.

Read an Excerpt

Introduction And Acknowledgments

The United States and the Middle East are at a critical moment in their individual and common histories. The first international crisis of the post-Cold War era culminated in war. But despite the flood of instant information and analysis provided by television and the press during the course of the Gulf War, most Americans remain ill informed about the history of the region, the policies that brought Iraq, Kuwait, and the U.S.-led coalition to confrontation, and the complex problems that will shape the postwar Middle East. The United States has embarked upon a qualitatively new involvement with the region — a commitment that raises important questions: What is the proper role of U.S. power in the world today? Can it be guided by moral precepts, or is realpolitik and the balance of power the only choice for policymakers? What are the root causes of instability and discontent in the Middle East? Can lasting peace be brought to that tormented part of the world by the forcible intervention of outside powers? Are there other, less violent ways of resolving the disputes among the countries and peoples of the region? Can America's foreign policy be more tightly tethered to democratic debate and control? And what about the "peace dividend" and the pressing priorities back home?

With these words, we began our 1991 anthology, The Gulf War Reader. Sadly, or ironically, the same observations and the same questions, with minor variations, seem just as relevant today. The Gulf War, which ended in an unsettled cease-fire ordered by the first President Bush, is being finished by the secondPresident Bush. And despite the explosion of 24-hour news coverage and the Internet, most Americans still "remain ill informed" about the history and complexity of the region. For example, polls show that about half believe one or more Iraqis helped hijack the planes of September 11th, when in fact none were involved on that terrible day that is so altering our country's self-perception. (This observation is more than merely academic: cross-tabulation shows that those who believed that were 20 to 35 percent more likely to support going to war with Saddam.) Moreover, questions about the proper role of American power and the root causes of instability and discontent have only grown more urgent since our earlier book. Today, America, and indeed much of the Western world, face a new kind of enemy, a network of angry individuals that does not appear to be deterrable through conventional means. In the face of this threat, the leaders of the United States have embraced a new doctrine of pre-emptive action that they say is needed to prevent future September 11ths. Others see it as a dangerously destabilizing and self-defeating grab at imperial dominance.

This book is meant to be a guide to the most urgent foreign policy questions of our time, as raised and interpreted by political leaders, academics, diplomats, journalists and critics. First, in Part One, "Sins of the Fathers," we examine how the West, and in particular the United States, came to clash with Saddam Hussein. What are the roots of Arab and Islamic resentment? Where did Saddam come from? How and why did the United States support him for so many years? And what happened when both sides, not quite allies but not enemies either, came to misunderstand each other's intentions over Kuwait?

In Part Two, "Aftermaths of the Gulf War," we cover the period from 1991 through 2001. How did Saddam manage to survive the Kurdish and Shiite uprisings of 1991, and what might his unlikely survival teach future rulers of Iraq? In what ways did the Pentagon and the White House succeed in manipulating the American press and public, and what lessons in skepticism may we learn as citizens judging present statements from our leaders? How did the sanctions and inspections regimes of the 1990s fall apart? How far did Iraq get in trying to develop a nuclear bomb? And who planted the seeds for the current war?

In Part Three, "War With Iraq," we endeavor to cover the whole spectrum of domestic debate over the war (with a few salient international voices as well). How should the country have responded to September 11th? Who are the authors of the new Bush Doctrine, and will their handiwork prove practicable and constructive? Is unilateral action wise or foolhardy? Did Congress abrogate its constitutional responsibility when it authorized President Bush to decide whether the nation should go to war? Was Saddam deterrable? Was he even the right target? What are the odds that regime change in Iraq will have long-term positive effects, like the liberation of long-suffering peoples and the emergence of new Arab democracies? Were U.N. inspections working, or was war the only way to enforce the Security Council's resolutions? Can countries with huge stockpiles of their own weapons of mass destruction prevent others from wanting, and getting, them too?

Finally, in Part Four, "Through a Glass Darkly," we peer forward through the fog of war into the future. There was much discussion even before the war started of how Iraq's society and government might be remade for the better after Saddam's fall; most of our authors offer cautionary notes on how difficult and dangerous a task that will be. Likewise, much was made of how this war represented a paradigm shift in America's relations with the rest of the world. Here we offer muscular and optimistic views of Pax Americana from three of its leading proponents, along with several essays presenting a more skeptical view of empire.

The Iraq War Reader was completed as the diplomatic dance in the Security Council came to an end and the war began. Whether that war was destined to be quick or drawn-out, relatively painless or truly horrifying, we cannot know, although you, dear reader, probably already do. (Visit our website at for ongoing updates and more recommended reading.) It is our hope that our book will enrich and deepen the debates that are to come.

Assembling an anthology like this, especially against a background of quickly changing events, would have been impossible without the extraordinary efforts of many people.

First and foremost, we'd like to thank our mutual friend Victor Navasky, who introduced us in 1991, just in time to collaborate on The Gulf War Reader. (Imagine our sense of déja vù — pardon the untimely use of French! — as we once again scrambled to put together a book as war clouds gathered over the Middle East.)

We are also especially grateful to Richard Butler, Joost Hiltermann, Lewis Lapham, and Kevin Phillips, who took extra time and effort to contribute newly written or adapted works to our anthology, and who offered shrewd and useful suggestions for other pieces as well.

Special thanks are due Jane Aaron, Bill Arkin, Monie Begley, John Berendt, Marc Cooper, David Corn, Bill Effros, Gloria Emerson, Louise Gikow, Hendrik Hertzberg, Christopher Hitchens, Doug Ireland, Michael Levine, John Moyers, Danny Schechter, Nermeen Shaikh, Norman Stiles, Raymond Shapiro, Bob Silvers, Ken Socha, Chris Toensing, Katrina vanden Heuvel, and (last but hardly least!) Steve Wasserman, for their friendship, patience, advice, and support. Nick Nyhart and the whole staff of Public Campaign cut one of us much valuable slack, and his colleagues Nancy Watzman and Rick Bielke deserve special appreciation for picking up that slack, as do the many generous members of the Between the Lions creative and production teams whose phone calls went mysteriously unanswered during the early weeks of 2003.

The writers whose works form the body of this book are, of course, the true creators of The Iraq War Reader; we are truly grateful for their kindness and cooperation. We owe a debt as well to several very fine resources: the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP), Laurie Mylroie's Iraq Daily,, the Global Policy Forum (, the International Crisis Group (, Chuck Spinney's Defense and the National Interest ( and Gary Milhollin's Iraq Watch.

We offer our special thanks to our agents Ed Victor, Kim Witherspoon, and David Forrer; to Tina Fuscaldo and Lisa Weinert, who worked tirelessly on assembling and organizing our manuscript (and us!); to Brett Valley, who was always there to lend a cheerful and efficient helping hand; and to Donna Fuscaldo, whose research efforts played a critical role. We are especially grateful, too, to Cheryl Moch, our peerless permissions editor (and longtime friend); to Nancy Inglis, who shepherded our book wisely and thoughtfully through a daunting series of typesetting and copyediting deadlines; to Kelly Farley and the gallant folks at Dix Type, who excelled at an impossible typesetting task; to London King and Marcia Burch, our public relations gurus; to Francine Kass, our art director; and to Mark Gompertz, publisher of the Touchstone division of Simon & Schuster, who believed in our endeavor from the outset, and graciously smoothed the way for us whenever smoothing was required.

Were it not for Trish Todd, our editor (and the editor-in-chief of Touchstone Books), whose unexpected email message launched this project, there would have been no Iraq War Reader. Thanks, Trish, for getting us started, and for the vision and good humor you displayed throughout the editorial process!

Thanks as well to our families (both official and non-official), who put up with more than the usual amount of distraction and free-floating angst from us during the final weeks of this project; your love and support mean everything to us.

And, finally, we'd like to acknowledge our debt to Marcus Raskin and the late Bernard Fall, editors of The Vietnam Reader, and Marvin Gettleman, who edited Vietnam: History, Documents, and Opinions on a Major World Crisis. Their seminal works were the "mothers of all wartime anthologies," and we're honored, for the second time in twelve years, to be able to follow in their footsteps.

Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf

New York City

March 27, 2003

Copyright © 2003 by Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf

Table of Contents


Introduction and Acknowledgments


ONE Roots of Conflict: 1915-1989

Imperial Legacy

Phillip Knightley

The Rise of Saddam Hussein

Judith Miller and Laurie Mylroie

What Washington Gave Saddam for Christmas

Murray Waas

The Men Who Helped the Man Who Gassed His Own People

Joost R. Hiltermann

TWO The First Gulf War

Realpolitik in the Gulf: A Game Gone Tilt

Christopher Hitchens

U.S. Senators Chat with Saddam

The Glaspie Transcript: Saddam Meets the U.S. Ambassador

The Experts Speak on the Coming Gulf War

edited by Christopher Cerf and Victor Navasky

How Saddam Misread the United States

Kenneth Pollack


THREE Saddam Survives

"We Have Saddam Hussein Still Here"

Andrew Cockburn and Patrick Cockburn

Why We Didn't Go to Baghdad

George Bush and Brent Scowcroft

Why the Uprisings Failed

Faleh A. Jabar

How Saddam Held On to Power

Kanan Makiya

FOUR Casualties of War

What Bodies?

Patrick J. Sloyan

Remember Nayirah, Witness for Kuwait?

John R. MacArthur

"Thank God for the Patriot Missile!"

edited by Christopher Cerf and Victor Navasky

Did Iraq Try to Assassinate ex-President Bush in 1993?

A Case Not Closed

Seymour M. Hersh

FIVE Sanctions and Inspections

A Backgrounder on Inspections and Sanctions

Sarah Graham-Brown and Chris Toensing

The Inspections and the U.N.: The Blackest of Comedies

Richard Butler

The Hijacking of UNSCOM

Susan Wright

Behind the Scenes with the Iraqi Nuclear Bomb

Khidhir Hamza with Jeff Stein

SIX New Storms Brewing

An Open Letter to President Clinton: "Remove Saddam from Power"

Project for the New American Century

Statement: Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders

World Islamic Front

Televised Address to the Nation: "The Costs of Action Must be Weighed Against the Price of Inaction"

President Bill Clinton


SEVEN The Impact of September 11th

Reflections on September 11th

Susan Sontag

Voices of Moral Obtuseness

Charles Krauthammer

Against the War Metaphor

Hendrik Hertzberg

An Open Letter to President Bush: "Lead the World to Victory"

Project for the New American Century

A Year Later: What the Right and Left Haven't Learned

Marc Cooper

Better Safe Than Sorry

Mona Charen

The Enemy Within

Daniel Pipes

"First They Came for the Muslims..."

Anthony Lewis

Not the War We Needed

Barbara Ehrenreich

EIGHT The Bush Doctrine

What to Do About Iraq

Robert Kagan and William Kristol

State of the Union Speech: The Axis of Evil

President George W. Bush

The Next World Order

Nicholas Lemann

No Meeting in Prague

Robert Novak

Remarks at West Point: "New Threats Require New Thinking"

President George W. Bush

The New Bush Doctrine

Richard Falk

Inside the Secret War Council

Mark Thompson

NINE The Country Debates Going to War

War on What? The White House and the Debate About Whom to Fight Next

Nicholas Lemann

Don't Attack Saddam

Brent Scowcroft

Remarks to the Veterans of Foreign Wars: "The Risks of Inaction Are Far Greater Than the Risk of Action"

Vice President Dick Cheney

Drain the Swamp and There Will Be No More Mosquitoes

Noam Chomsky

Questions That Won't Be Asked About Iraq

Congressman Ron Paul

The War Party's Imperial Plans

Pat Buchanan

Speech to the UN General Assembly: "I Stand Before You Today a Multilaterialist"

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan

Speech to the UN General Assembly: "A Grave and Gathering Danger..."

President George W. Bush

Peace Puzzle

Michael Berube

Stuck to the U.N. Tar Baby

George Will

Against a Doctrine of Pre-emptive War

Former Vice President Al Gore

Why We Hate Them

Ann Coulter

What's Missing in the Iraq Debate

Peggy Noonan

Wars Are Never Fought for Altruistic Reasons

Arundhati Roy

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Proof!

Arianna Huffington

The President's Real Goal in Iraq

Jay Bookman

The Imperialism Canard

Andrew Sullivan

TEN The Debate in Congress

Of Pre-emption and Appeasement, Box-Cutters and Liquid Gold: Excerpts from the October 10, 2002 House Debate

Representatives Charles Rangel, Howard Berman, Dennis Kucinich, Nancy Pelosi, Tom DeLay, Richard Gephardt

Letter to Senator Bob Graham

CIA Director George Tenet

Iraq's Disarmament is Impossible Without Regime Change

Senator John McCain

No Place for Kings in America

Senator Robert C. Byrd

Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq

Resolution of 2002

ELEVEN Regime Change: Why and Why Not

Two Faces, One Terror

Fouad Ajami

Deciphering the Bush Administration's Motives

Michael T. Klare

Can We Really Deter a Nuclear-Armed Saddam?

Kenneth Pollack

Why SaddamWants Weapons of Mass Destruction

Charles A. Duelfer

An Unnecessary War

John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt

Suicide from Fear of Death?

Richard K. Betts

Bring Back the Draft

Representative Charles B. Rangel

The United States Has Gone Mad

John le Carré

Why I Am for Regime Change

Christopher Hitchens

An Unacceptable Helplessness

Edward Said

Why We Know Iraq Is Lying

Condoleezza Rice

I'm Losing Patience with My Neighbors, Mr. Bush

Terry Jones

TWELVE Last Dance at the U.N.

A Case for Concern, Not a Case for War

Glen Rangwala, Nathaniel Hurd and Alistair Millar

Iraq Has No Interest in War

Saddam Hussein (Interview with Tony Benn)

Presentation to the UN Security Council: A Threat to International Peace and Security

Secretary of State Colin Powell

MI6 and CIA: The New Enemy Within

Paul Lashmar and Raymond Whitaker

"Sleepwalking Through History"

Senator Robert Byrd

The Second Superpower

Micah L. Sifry

The Yes-But Parade

William Safire

Hawks Have My Head, Doves Have My Heart, Guess Which Wins?

Ian McEwan

Promises Abroad, While at Home Promises Go Forgotten

Derrick Jackson

The Long Bomb

Thomas L. Friedman

U.S.-British Draft Resolution On Iraq

Iraq's Disarmament Can Be Achieved By Peaceful Means

(The Foreign Ministers of France, Russia, and Germany)

The War Begins: "The Tyrant Will Soon Be Gone"

President George W. Bush

Pre-emptive Defeat, or How Not to Fight Proliferation

Jonathan Schell


THIRTEEN The Future of Iraq

Iraq: The Imperial Precedent

Charles Tripp

The Fifty-first State?

James Fallows

Speech at the American Enterprise Institute: "Iraq Is Fully Capable of Living in Freedom"

President George W. Bush

The Post-Saddam Problem

Dilip Hiro

Saddam's Real Opponents

Frank Smyth

In Iraqi Kurdistan

Tim Judah

Post-Saddam Iraq: Linchpin of a New Oil Order

Michael Renner

Our Hopes Betrayed: The U.S. Blueprint for Post-Saddam Government

Kanan Makiya

FOURTEEN The Future of Pax Americana

The Unipolar Moment Revisited: America, the Benevolent Empire

Charles Krauthammer

America's Mission, After Baghdad

Lawrence F. Kaplan and William Kristol

America's Dreams of Empire

Pervez Hoodbhoy

Catastrophe as the Generator of Historical Change: The Iraq Case

Richard Butler

Regime Change

Lewis H. Lapham

Hegemony, Hubris and Overreach

Kevin Phillips


1. Key U.N. Resolutions

2. A Who's Who of the Iraqi Opposition

Permissions Acknowledgments


About the Editors

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Iraq War Reader 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just bought a copy of the 'Iraq War Reader,' edited by Micah Sifry and Christopher Cerf, and I must say, I found it fascinating and very revealing. The articles in this anthology cover past, present and even future issues plaguing Iraq and the Middle East. What an education the reader receives! With all the media attention the Iraq war has generated, I was shocked (and awed...) at how little I knew about the history and problems of the region. I could not put this book down! Of particular relevance and interest were the articles by Tim Judah, who gives a compelling on the scene account of the struggles the Kurds have endured (he was reporting from Kurdistan) and Frank Smyth, who predicts the Shi'ite demand for power. There are also articles by Al Gore, Christopher Hitchens, Nicholas Lemann and even John le Carre. The endless list of world-class contributors is amazing! This book is not only for those interested in gaining a better understanding of the Middle East conflict, but also for anyone who enjoys reading extremely articulate pieces by some of the world's most well-known opinion makers and authors. I've passed the book on to a friend and can't wait to discuss and argue its contents.