Ten Years Later: Reading the Iraq War

Ten years ago today, on March 20, 2003, the United States led an invasion of Iraq. Among several other issues, the human toll on both sides and the exponential cost of the war has been the subject of critical discussion since troops invaded Iraqi borders. After the Iraq War’s official end and the last American forces withdrew on December 15, 2011, eight years, eight months, three weeks and four days later, many questions remain regarding the serious effects of war. Today, we’ve compiled a reading list of various books that discuss the many aspects of the Iraq War. Reflect, remember, read.

k9084War Stories: The Causes and Consequences of Public Views of War
Matthew A. Baum & Tim J. Groeling
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Baum and Groeling take an in-depth look at media coverage, elite rhetoric, and public opinion during the Iraq war and other U.S. conflicts abroad. They trace how traditional and new media select stories, how elites frame and sometimes even distort events, and how these dynamics shape public opinion over the course of a conflict.

Striking First: Preemption and Prevention in International Conflict
Michael W. Doyle, Edited and introduced by Stephen Macedo
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Tackling one of the most controversial policy issues of the post-September 11 world, Michael Doyle argues that neither the Bush Doctrine nor customary international law is capable of adequately responding to the pressing security threats of our times.

k8933.gifWhat They Think of Us: International Perceptions of the United States since 9/11
Edited by David Farber
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A remarkable group of writers from the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Latin America describe the world’s profoundly ambivalent attitudes toward the United States–before and since 9/11.

What We Owe Iraq: War and the Ethics of Nation Building
Noah Feldman
Here’s the Introduction

“[P]art theoretical treatise, part political analysis, part memoir–Noah Feldman . . . makes the case that when the United States invaded Iraq, it not only toppled a tyrant but also undertook a ‘trusteeship’ on behalf of the Iraqi people.”–New York Times Book Review

k9963Paying the Human Costs of War: American Public Opinion and Casualties in Military Conflicts
Christopher Gelpi, Peter D. Feaver & Jason Reifler
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Providing a wealth of new evidence about American attitudes toward military conflict, this book offers insights into a controversial, timely, and ongoing national discussion.

Making War at Fort Hood: Life and Uncertainty in a Military Community
Kenneth T. MacLeish
Here’s the Introduction

Making War at Fort Hood offers an illuminating look at war through the daily lives of the people whose job it is to produce it. Kenneth MacLeish conducted a year of intensive fieldwork among soldiers and their families at and around the US Army’s Fort Hood in central Texas. He shows how war’s reach extends far beyond the battlefield into military communities where violence is as routine, boring, and normal as it is shocking and traumatic.

k8886.gifA Necessary Engagement: Reinventing America’s Relations with the Muslim World
Emile Nakhleh
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The CIA’s former point man on Islam makes a vigorous case for a renewal of American public diplomacy in the Muslim world. Offering a unique balance between in-depth analysis, personal memoir, and foreign policy remedies, the book injects much-needed wisdom into the public discussion of long-term U.S.-Muslim relations.

The Science of War: Defense Budgeting, Military Technology, Logistics, and Combat Outcomes
Michael E. O’Hanlon
Here’s the Introduction

O’Hanlon explains how the military budget works, how the military assesses and deploys new technology, develops strategy and fights wars, handles the logistics of stationing and moving troops and equipment around the world, and models and evaluates battlefield outcomes.

k9015My Life Is a Weapon: A Modern History of Suicide Bombing
Christoph Reuter
Here’s the Introduction

“Against the violent Manichean rhetoric of the times, and its brute interventionism, Reuter offers a counter-narrative: suicide attacks in Israel-Palestine will stop when Israel withdraws from the Occupied Territories; more generally across the region, the West should keep out.”–Jacqueline Rose, London Review of Books

The Presidency of George W. Bush: A First Historical Assessment
Edited by Julian E. Zelizer
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Each chapter tackles some important aspect of Bush’s administration–such as presidential power, law, the war on terror, the Iraq invasion, economic policy, and religion–and helps readers understand why Bush made the decisions he did. History will be the ultimate judge of Bush’s legacy, and the assessment begins with this book.