The War Lobby: Iraq and the Pursuit of U.S. Primacy

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Title: The War Lobby: Iraq and the Pursuit of U.S. Primacy
Author: Duggan, Edward C., 1971-
Abstract: In my dissertation I argue that the invasion of Iraq was a part of a larger project by Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to reestablish the unconstrained use of U.S. military power after the defeat of Vietnam. The study presents the best evidence against the alternative explanations that the invasion of Iraq was the result of an overreaction to 9/11, the threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction, a plan to spread democracy in the Middle East, a desire to protect Israel or a plan to profit from Iraqi oil. The study also challenges the leading explanation among academics that emphasizes the role of the neoconservatives in the decision to invade. These academics argue that neoconservatives, such as Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, successfully persuaded the American President, George W. Bush, and his Vice President, Dick Cheney, of the necessity to eliminate Saddam Hussein by winning an internal policy battle over realists, such as Secretary of State Colin Powell. With their narrow focus on neoconservatives and realists, scholars have largely overlooked a third group of hawkish policy makers, the primacists. This latter group, centered on Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and Vice President Cheney, had a long standing goal of strengthening the U.S. military and presidential powers in order to pursue U.S. primacy. This goal manifests itself in the invasion of Iraq, a country in the heart of the geopolitically important, oil-rich region of the Persian Gulf. I demonstrate that it was the primacists, not the neoconservatives, who persuaded the President to go to war with Iraq. Through historical process tracing, especially through a close look at the careers of the major policy actors involved and their public statements as well as declassified documents, I provide strong evidence that these leaders wanted to pursue regime change in Iraq upon taking office. The invasion of Iraq would extend the War on Terror, providing an opportunity to pursue their long-held policy of strengthening the power of the presidency and transforming the military into a high-tech and well-funded force.
Description: xiv, 162 p.
Date: 2011-09

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