Bush%E2%80%99s Wars

Terry H. Anderson. Oxford Univ., $27.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-19-974752-8
Anderson (The United States, Great Britain and the Cold War, 1944–1947), a professor of history at Texas A&M University, draws primarily upon published, secondary sources to tell what he calls the "first history of Bush’s Wars" that turns out a familiar account of an "unreflective" and unseasoned president, an administration obsessed with Saddam Hussein promoting a reckless war with Iraq, bungling reconstruction, and sitting back helplessly as Iraq disintegrates into insurgency and sectarian war. Anderson credits the 2007 surge with reducing violence in Iraq, but remains skeptical about the future. While he acknowledges that his examination of Bush’s wars might be "premature," he betrays little caution in concluding that war with Iraq will likely be blamed for any future "decline of American economic and diplomatic influence." Moreover, Anderson risks overstating his case with claims such as that Bush was unique in eschewing "firm intelligence and analysis" when conducting foreign policy. Other assertions go unchecked—it’s not true that recession was in "full swing" during the 1992 presidential campaign—and readers won’t find much help in the cursory "Notes." Anderson’s concise history of Bush’s wars might be the first, but it won’t be the last word. (July)
Reviewed on: 03/28/2011
Release date: 07/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
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