Michael J. Mazarr
has written a history of the policy planning process leading up to the Iraq War in 2003. Mazarr has conducted over one hundred interviews with senior policy officials from the George W. Bush administration, combined with a comprehensive review of published memoirs and declassified government documents, to provide a richly detailed history of America’s involvement in Iraq. In his new book, Leap of Faith: Hubris, Negligence, and America’s Greatest Foreign Policy Tragedy
(Public Affairs, 2019), Mazarr reviews the key faulty assumptions that hampered the war planning process, including assuming the intelligence was sufficient that weapons of mass destruction existed, assuming that Iraq had a middle-class technocratic elite just waiting to take over after liberation, assuming that the U.S. could intervene with only a “light footprint,” without any need for prolonged occupation, and failing to plan for the security situation in the aftermath of the war. In addition to providing a narrative of how the decision to go to war occurred, Mazarr draws lessons to help guide future policy makers at all levels of government.
Ian J. Drake is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Law at Montclair State University. His scholarly interests include American legal and constitutional history and political theory.