The official celebratory explanation of every American war is challenged sooner or later by "revisionist" politicians, commentators and historians. These two books are the first wave of Gulf War revisionism. They both focus on President Bush in the months leading up to the entry of American forces into combat, not on the war itself, and both are unremittingly critical, seeing the president acting for narrow political advantage, misleading public and Congress, and threatening the democratic safeguards against folly that are embedded in the American constitutional process. Smith's book is the more carefully researched; Graubard's the more passionate.
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