An extensive compilation of official documents, policy advocacy statements, and assorted commentary on the U.S. decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003 is presented in “The Iraq Papers,” a new book from Oxford University Press.
Since it seems that there will be no new official reckoning of the Iraq war or other Bush Administration policy choices, it will be left to others to achieve their own understanding of the Bush era and its aftermath. “The Iraq Papers” provides one possible documentary starting point.
“The decision to invade Iraq launched a new doctrine of preemptive war, mired the American military in an intractable armed conflict, disrupted world petroleum supplies, cost the United States billions of dollars, and damaged or ended the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans and Iraqis,” the book states.
The book editors are not overly perplexed by these events. Somewhat heavy-handedly, they 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.
See “The Iraq Papers,” edited by John Ehrenberg, J. Patrice McSherry, Jose Ramon Sanchez, and Caroleen Marji Sayej, Oxford University Press, January 2010.