To Start a War: How the Bush Administration Took America into Iraq

Robert Draper. Penguin Press, $30 (496p) ISBN 978-0-525-56104-0
Delusions, turf battles, and hubris drove a march of folly, according to this caustic and engrossing study of the run-up to the 2003 Iraq War. Journalist Draper (Dead Certain) documents the vaulting ambitions and outsized egos of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, long obsessed with overthrowing Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein; Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, a Machiavellian bureaucratic infighter who used the war to aggrandize his Pentagon fiefdom; Vice President Dick Cheney, who fixated on farfetched Iraqi threat scenarios; President George W. Bush, who felt a messianic duty to protect America and liberate Iraq; and CIA director George Tenet, who obligingly distorted the intelligence to validate “First Customer” Bush’s preconceptions. Drawing on hundreds of interviews, Draper details how the Administration misled itself and the public about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and ties to Al Qaeda, and dissects the starry-eyed assumptions and egregious lack of planning that turned the occupation into a bloody quagmire. Though the outlines of this story are familiar, Draper’s psychological insights, well-crafted narrative, and colorful details spotlight the human complexity behind this tragic episode. The history of the Iraq War has rarely been told with so much authority and precision. Agent: Sloan Harris, ICM Partners. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/29/2020
Release date: 07/28/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 496 pages - 978-0-525-56106-4
Book - 1 pages - 978-0-525-56105-7
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