Review Essay

A Tale of Two Wars

The Right War in Iraq, and the Wrong One

In This Review

War of Necessity, War of Choice: A Memoir of Two Iraq Wars
War of Necessity, War of Choice: A Memoir of Two Iraq Wars
By Richard N. Haass
Simon & Schuster, 2009, 336 pp. $27.00 Purchase

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War of Necessity, War of Choice -- part recent history, part wide-ranging personal memoir, part case study in decision-making -- deserves to be read carefully. This is so not only because Richard Haass has impressive credentials -- he was a top foreign policy official and is now president of the Council on Foreign Relations -- or because he provides a perceptive insider's account of deliberations at the top of the U.S. government that, within a dozen years, resulted in U.S. engagement in two significant wars with Iraq. The book's additional significance is to be found in the wider lesson that a future U.S. secretary of state or U.S. national security adviser should draw for U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Haass took part in the decision to wage the 1991 war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq in

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