A Time of Our Choosing: America’s War in Iraq
A Time of Our Choosing: America’s War in Iraq by Todd S. Purdum, Times Books, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 303 pp., 2003, $25.00 (hardcover)
There are yet countless volumes to be written on the war in Iraq and its ultimate stabilization; it is incumbent on this generation of soldiers to begin reading about this new conflict and its importance to our nation’s security. Todd S. Purham joins dozens of New York Times reporters to discuss the events leading to the war in Iraq, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the aftermath.
The opening chapter rationalizes the invasion of Iraq in terms articulated by Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, and Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz. They make an eloquent argument of the need to remove an abhorrent regime in Iraq as a mechanism to bring prosperity and stability to the entire Middle East. Anti-democratic oligarchs, who have no idea how to manage a population explosion, but possess the need to globalize and create jobs for hundreds of thousands in each Arab nation each year, beset the region. This creates an environment in which Islamic militancy becomes an alternative for those angry and unemployed.
A Time of Our Choosing summarizes what is known about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD): that the United Nations (UN) destroyed over 38,500 shells and warheads in the nineties and millions of gallons of chemical agent. Saddam has used WMD on his own people and in his war against Iran (1980-1988). After 1998, the Iraqi despot expelled UN inspectors and a great gap was created on Saddam’s WMD program, this coupled with his utter lack of cooperation to disclose his stockpile and allow access to inspectors, further drives the United States to tighten sanctions. With the spread of aI-Qaeda and the events of 9-11, Saddam offers thousands of dollars to families of suicide bombers who kill Israelis, and sponsors a violent Palestinian terror faction. His dalliances with terrorist groups and his track record with WMD, makes it untenable for America to allow Saddam to remain in power.
A chapter focuses on UN Security Council Resolution 1441, which gave Saddam one last chance to fully cooperate with weapons inspectors. The language of the resolution shows divisiveness among the world’s democracies on Saddam. The United States saw Saddam’s offer of conditioned cooperation as the usual trap; France and other powers saw it as progress. One might speculate that if the members of the Security Council had been unified in their position, Saddam may have granted unconditional access to UN inspectors.
Half the book focuses on the war and the development of “1003 Victor,” the plan to capture Iraq. It relied on flexibility, precision munitions, and ’round-the-clock battlespace surveillance. A Time of Our Choosing also discusses the negative influence of Arab news networks that keep the ghosts of Saddam and Bin Laden alive in the region. Take time to read books on Operation Iraqi Freedom and the importance of long-term commitment to the success of Iraqi reconstruction. You may not agree with the author’s conclusions, but it provides a thoughtprovoking read on American national security and strategy.
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