The United States and Iraq since 1990: A Brief History with Documents

The United States and Iraq since 1990: A Brief History with Documents

The United States and Iraq since 1990: A Brief History with Documents

The United States and Iraq since 1990: A Brief History with Documents


This book offers a concise history of US policy in Iraq since 1990 and how it has evolved over two decades.

Examines US relations with Iraq from both a regional and international perspective

Argues that the only way to clearly understand US policy toward Iraq is to see it in its proper historical context and within a transnational framework

Uses recently declassified documents at the end of each chapter to illustrate US decision-making in the wars for Iraq

Addresses the importance of the changing domestic climate surrounding two decades


“My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators,” Vice President Dick Cheney told a nationwide television audience shortly before the March 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. How could the vice president have been so wrong? American forces were bogged down in Iraq for another eight years, and after the U.S. troop withdrawal in December 2011, Iraq seemed no closer to national political reconciliation. The meaning and the history of the American wars for Iraq, therefore, remain as perplexing and confusing as they were when Cheney spoke those words so long ago. Why did the United States make such a vast commitment to a country that it had virtually ignored for so long? What did the United States hope to accomplish in its nearly two decades of war and hostilities in Iraq? Why, despite an enormous investment in Iraq, did the United States fail to transform the country? What have been the consequences of America’s involvement in Iraq? This book seeks to place American intervention in Iraq in historical perspective and to answer these vital questions.

This book is the first study of American foreign policy toward Iraq that weaves national security documents and analysis of them into a single, comprehensive narrative. It traces the long and complicated history of U.S. policy toward Iraq from the Eisenhower administration’s support for King Faisal’s conservative regime in the 1950s to the Obama administration’s ongoing commitment to the American-backed al-Maliki government in Baghdad today. One of the key themes of this book is the inability of U.S. policymakers to alter Iraqi outlook and policies despite an enormous American commitment to changing Iraq. It helps explain why, in the face of such failures, U.S. officials continued to overstate their potential influence in Iraq. Another major theme of this book is the lack of a political corollary to America’s overwhelming military power in Iraq. Military intervention did not fundamentally shape the character and the nature of the Iraqi government and its actions, despite some claims to the contrary. The dogged pursuit of U.S.

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