The war in Iraq is losing popularity in the polls of the American public. The American public is not against the men and women of the Armed Forces, but they are against the way President Bush is handling the war - and against the ongoing killing and destruction in Iraq. This book is timely, although it is a year old now due to translating and publishing time. It still is a good investigation into the Iraq War from a somewhat objective point of view. The book was originally an in-house publication for the Swedish National Defence College, which most of the authors are members of. The editors realized that the book had great potential for a wider audience, so it was translated into English. They were correct in their thinking.
In the introduction four questions are posed:
The Swedes examined not only the military implications of the war in Iraq but also its social, political, and historical aspects. In addition to the questions above, they looked into the transatlantic relations before and during the war, examine Iraq’s political strategy before and during the war and whether the war was legal under international law; they examine how the war was conducted on the land, on the sea, and in the air. They also look into the United States’ struggle for credibility during the war and how that impacts the rest of the world and the global war on terrorism. Weapons of mass destruction were one of the stated reasons for the war, but the Swedes and others point out that these have not been found. They discuss how this has hurt American and its Allies credibility.
- When did the war in Iraq take place?
- Why did the war in Iraq happened?
- How was the war in Iraq fought?
- What impact does the war in Iraq have on the future of international relations and international law?
The authors are military experts or in similar fields in Sweden. They in some ways could be considered neutral, as has been Sweden’s traditional stance in world conflicts. Several contributors have published books and articles in their fields connected with the military arts, and some are officers in the Swedish military. This is not a fly-by-night group; they are experts and worthy of being heard. Editor Jan Hallenberg is director of the Studies at the Department of Security and Strategy at the Swedish National Defence College. He has been a research fellow at Princeton University, Harvard University, and the University of California, Berkeley. He has authored three books, the most recent being The Demise of the Soviet Union (2002). Co-editor Hakan Karlsson has a Ph.D. in political science and is a research associate at the Department of Security and Strategic Studies at the Swedish National Defence College. He is also the author of Bureaucratic Politics and Weapons Acquisition (2002).
The essays are of a military academic orientation and not all are easy to read. Some essays may interest readers more than others; they cover a lot of material. Each essay has endnotes and a bibliography which includes Internet sites. There is an index at the end of the book, but no illustrations or maps.
This book is recommended to those interested in military analysis, the Iraq War before, during, and its possible after affects for the United States. It belongs in public, academic, military, and personal libraries.