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War In Iraq Book Review

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The End of Iraq Book Review

Peter Galbraith, the former first ambassador to Croatia book writes, The End of Iraq, a book about the United State’s invasion of Iraq and what to do about the situation now. Galbraith writes, “My purpose is to argue a course of action by which the United States can extricate itself from the mess in Iraq …this strategy should be based on U.S. interests and reflect the reality that Iraq has broken up in all but name.” Galbraith disagrees with American policies towards Iraq. In order to get us out of Iraq, Galbraith argues for the partition of Iraq into three separate states. Straightforward, tough, and at times over the top, The End of Iraq is an overall good read.

Today, Iraq is plagued by civil war, sectarian violence, death, destruction, and instability in the region. As the five-year anniversary of the war has come and gone, it could be argued that nothing substantial has yet to be accomplished. This is due in part by the US invasion of Iraq and a history of occupation by Western countries. Galbraith believes the Bush Administration went into Iraq without a plan. “...President Bush and his top advisors have consistently substituted wishful thinking for analysis and hope for strategy.” Appeasing Hussein was one of the first mistakes made in Iraq by the US.

Chapter Two details the history of the Iran-Iraq war and what it means to the current state of affairs. Galbraith introduces of two leader: Saddam Hussein, former President of Iraq and Ayatollah Tuhollah Khomeini, Iran’s supreme leader. Galbraith highlights not only the historic and political causes for the war, the vendetta Khomeini and Hussein had against each other, but also the ability of the United States to continue diplomatic relations with a dictator who was willing to use chemical weapons on his opponents. By continuing relations with a dictator who went against the 1925 Geneva Protocols ban of the use of chemical weapons, the US appeased Iraq. Motivated by our nations special interests, the Reagan Administration removed Iraq from the list of countries supporting terrorism; gave intelligence to Iraq; overlooked the gross human rights violations, and ultimately, genocide. (19) According to Galbraith, President Ronald Regan admitted to having overlooked these errors and apologized for them. (Page 20). Galbraith also notes Donald Rumsfeld’s failure to raise the issue of chemical weapons with Saddam Hussein on several occasions.

In Chapter Three, Galbraith continues his list of mismanagements by the US in dealing with Hussein. The Iran-Iraq war has ended and, despite the armistice that went to effect by the two countries, Hussein continues to use chemical weapons, this time against the Kurds. (29) Meanwhile, Hussein was also fighting to destroy Kurdistan. The portrait of Hussein was being clearly painted as an evil, brutal dictator. According to Galbraith, objects displaying symbols of narcissism, his arrogance in the public executions of Kurds and the use of poison gas, and his insatiable fear and distrust of everyone around him, including the Iraqi people.

Galbraith does a good job of outlining the uprising that went on against Iraq. During the early nineties, Kuwait and Iraq’s relations are strained to due to money debts and oil prices. In August of 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. Only then did the US finally respond to Iraq. Prior to this, the US was playing nice by providing intelligence to Iraq, continuing with food subsidies, and providing millions of dollars in loans. America did not take action before the invasion of Kuwait because special interests groups would be adversely affected by the sanctions. (23) In a speech given by President Bush, he calls for the people to over throw Hussein. Galbraith goes on to describe how the Iraqis fought to over thrown Saddam yet were not helped at all by the US. In other words, the US was all talk, no game. This caused the breakup of Iraq. The failure on the U.S. to protect culture of Iraq results in a grim outlook on Iraq. The policy of the US was containment. Clearly, the easiest thing to do was to do nothing at all.

Entering Chapter Five, Galbraith brings us to present-day conditions in a post-9/11 society. He argues that George W. Bush and his Administration have led by arrogance and ignorance. This was such the case in the decision to invade Iraq. According to Galbraith, Iraq possessed less of a threat than other countries in the region. By getting bogged down in Iraq, North Korea and Iran were able to purse weapons of mass destruction. Poor planning resulted in chaos after the fall of Hussein. The Bush Administration put in charge people with not enough experience in post-conflict nation-building. All authority vanished. Relations with Iran also suffered due to blunders of the Bush Administration. Galbraith argues that Bush’s ideology counted more than analysis (76). The arrogance of the Bush Administration to believe it could unify a broken country of multiethnic people who were unwilling to negotiate with each other. Example of this is the supposed willingness of the Kurds to work together with Sunni and Shia groups to live together peacefully (99). The arrogance of the US to be able to create a state under such absurd conditions is one of the many failures of the Bush Administration.

In the aftermath of Hussein, the Bush Administration made several mistakes. The leadership they established in Iraq was incompetent. As a result of mismanagement, many important items were left unguarded. Materials used to make nuclear weapons were left unguarded. Yellowcake, high precision artilitery, viles of black fever, polio, HIV, and cholera were stolen and more than likely ended up in the hands of insurgents. According to Galbraith, Donald Rumsfeld, was unable to manage Iraq after the fall



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