Leap of Faith: Hubris, Negligence, and America's Greatest Foreign Policy Tragedy

Leap of Faith: Hubris, Negligence, and America's Greatest Foreign Policy Tragedy

by Michael J. Mazarr


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The dramatic insider account of why we invaded Iraq, the motivations that drove it, and the frustrations of those who tried and failed to stop it, leading to the most costly misadventure in US history.

A single disastrous choice in the wake of 9/11-the decision to use force to remove Saddam Hussein from power-did enormous damage to the wealth, well-being, and reputation of the United States. Few errors in U.S. foreign policy have had longer-lasting or more harmful consequences. Yet how the decision came to be made remains shrouded in mystery and mythology. To this day, even the principal architects of the war cannot agree on it.

Michael Mazarr has interviewed dozens of players involved in the deliberations about the invasion of Iraq and has reviewed all the documents so far declassified. He paints a devastating of portrait of an administration fueled by righteous conviction yet undercut by chaotic processes, rivalrous agencies, and competing egos. But more than the product of one bungling administration, the invasion of Iraq emerges here as a tragically typical example of modern U.S. foreign policy fiascos.

Leap of Faith asks profound questions about the limits of US power and the accountability for its use. It offers lessons urgently relevant to stave off similar disasters-today and in the future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781541768369
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 03/19/2019
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 220,569
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 2.00(d)

About the Author

Michael J. Mazarr is a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation. He has been a faculty member and associate dean at the U.S. National War College and senior fellow and project leader at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He served in the U.S. Navy Reserve and has worked as an aide to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and as a defense staffer on Capitol Hill. He holds degrees from Georgetown University and the University of Maryland School of Public Affairs.

Table of Contents

A Note on Sources and Methods xi

Acknowledgments xiii

1 Understanding a Tragedy 1

2 The Origins of a Conviction 19

3 A New Sheriff in Town 63

4 The Terrible Shadow of 9/11 109

5 Justifying Invasion 165

6 Muddling toward War 202

7 A Juggernaut for War 241

8 "All is TBD"-On the Verge of War 290

9 The Aftermath 345

10 Lessons 387

Notes 417

Index 501

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