Architects of Delusion: Europe, America, and the Iraq War

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Architects of Delusion: Europe, America, and the Iraq War. By Simon Serfaty. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008. 170 pp. $45.

Serfaty, a professor of U.S. foreign policy at Old Dominion University, asks why in 2003, the United States and Great Britain chose war with Iraq while France and Germany resisted it. Chapters separately examine each country as Serfaty tries to explain how distinct French, German, British, and U.S. narratives formed and shaped their leaders' decisions.

While an interesting analytical exercise, Architects of Delusion is poorly researched and written. Serfaty makes little effort to survey French and German language sources or to interview French or German political figures as he seeks to explain the formation of the decisions made by those countries. Lapses are many: For example, in his chapter about French history in the run-up to Iraq, Serfaty mentions neither the multi-billion and sanctions-busting Franco-Iraqi trade, French president Jacques Chirac's long personal history with Saddam Hussein, nor France's unique history in Iraq. Nor should the reader expect to find here mention of French sponsorship of Iraq's own Osirak nuclear reactor. …