Armed Hostilities

The Review of “The War Over Iraq” by Kaplan


This book has the objective of showing how evil the late President of Iraq Saddam Hussein and it highlights some of the evil deeds he did to the people of Iraq especially the tribe that he was not from. He is depicted as one of the most ruthless dictators the world had ever seen and the book describes his actions which are seen from the time he was young to the time when the United States went into war with Iraq. This book takes a critical look at Saddam Hussein, and they portray the evil that the man had because he supported a blend of fascism, socialism and Pan-Arab nationalism when he was still a youth. He is said to have plotted a coup which saw him ascend to power and when he was the president of the Arab country he took to terrorizing the entire state where those who opposed his rule were made to disappear and numerous torture cases to government officials where even the wives to the officials were raped by secret policemen in an effort to extort loyalty from them and their colleagues.

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When Saddam was a ten years old he fled his home and went to live with his uncle by the name Kharailla Tulfah who was a war veteran from the Anglo-Iraq War and he had very strong sentiments against Iranians, Jews, Shiites, Kuwaitis and Westerners and this influenced the political ideology of Saddam Hussein. He married the daughter of Tulfah and when he ascended to power he made his relatives from his native Tikrit his advisors and they also undertook it to support him very strongly. His Uncle saw to it that Saddam was educated at a nationalistic school in Baghdad. After he was through with high school education, he enrolled at an Iraqi law school but would not finish and would drop out three years later in the year 1957. At that time he was aged twenty years and he joined the Ba’ath Party which was a pan-Arab revolutionary secretary-general also influenced by his uncle he was a very adherent supporter of the party. At this time he was also a secondary school teacher.

This was an era of revolution in Iraq at this time and the entire Middle East region. Socialists and progressives aired the negative views of the traditional political leaders in Iraq around this time. He was greatly influenced by Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt with his pan-Arab nationalism movement and when Nasser ascended to power resulted in numerous pan-Arab nationalism movements in the Middle East region and this resulted in monarchies collapsing in Egypt, Libya, and Iraq. One year after joining the Ba’ath Party the military under the leadership of General Abdul Karim Qassim overthrew the government of Faisal II and the Ba’athists did not support the new government and this was the reason why Saddam together with other Ba’athists tried to stage a coup and also tried to assassinate Qassim but failed.

Army officers who were related to the Ba’ath Party finally overthrew the government of Qassim in 1963 and this saw to it that the leaders of the Ba’ath party were made ministers and the president was Abdul Salam Arif. But after a year, Arif would dismiss the Ba’athists ministers. By that time Saddam was the secretary general of the party and would be arrested and would escape from prison and become one of the best supporters of the Ba’ath Party. He was a member of a group that overthrew the Arif government and Al-Bakr assumed the presidency with Saddam becoming his deputy. In 1976, Saddam took the position of the General of the armed forces and he quickly took to being the government strongman. At that time Al-Bakr was very old and weak and could not be able to carry out his duties as the president and this gave Saddam a chance to take a solid platform for his power in the government and he was felt internally and externally and this meant that he greatly influenced the foreign policy of the country at that time. This means that he was the de facto leader of the country before he officially ascended to power.

When he became the president, Saddam worked fervently to accumulate a lot of power and this was evidenced by the fact that he took opposition within the country very seriously. He could not tolerate treason and that is why he tortured a lot of people and was involved in gross human rights violations a position that led to him being criticized both internally and externally. In his leadership, he saw the country being at war with various countries and one of the most influential wars was the Gulf War which feted the country against the might of the United States and also the Iran and Iraq war. Saddam also started the project of weapons of mass destruction which would be tested on the people of Iraq and one of the most notable was the case against the Kurdish people with chemical weapons. He would soon start projects of nuclear weapons which made the international community wary of the danger facing the world if Saddam owned the nuclear weapons. This led to investigations by the United Nations which did not find any weapons of mass destruction but the United States could not tolerate for the world to take a risk and this led to the United States war with Iraq.

Subsequently the United States under the Bush administration and particularly the Bush Doctrine which stated that the country would do everything to secure its safety threatened to attack Iraq if it did not dispose of the weapons of mass destruction it was in possession of. Saddam would not heed this and instead was arguing that he did not possess any weapons of mass destruction a move which made the United States attack the country. The war ended with Saddam Hussein being arrested by American-led troops which consisted of NATO forces. The United Nations did not support the war but the United States stated that its foreign policy also required that the dictatorial regime of the country needed to be ousted and if necessary by force and this led to mixed reactions in the world with people feeling that the war was precipitated by other needs and not necessary for the good of the Iraqi people and not to protect the world against nuclear terrorism. However, it is important to note that if the country had the weapons of mass destruction and it had terrorists’ links, then world peace was being held at ransom and especially the United States people who were sworn enemies of the Iraq regime.

The Bush Administration had to do this because of the fact would there have been nuclear terrorism the world would have been a dangerous place and this means that the Iraq regime would have used terrorists to further their interests in the world. Having identified the United States as their number one enemy, the position of the United States was very grim and it was better to oust the government of Iraq rather than face the wrath of terrorists backed by the Iraq government and armed with nuclear weapons.

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This book portrays Saddam as one of the evilest people in the world and also supports the course of the United States going to war with Iraq over the weapons of mass destruction. It is important to get to the reasons behind the war and one of the reasons was that the United States sought to follow the Bush Doctrine which had been enacted following the 9/11 attacks on the United States. The United States had been faced with terrorism threats for a long time and this is because of its stand on the world order and international peace. The reason why the United States is threatened with terrorism activities is that it has been leading the world in ensuring that democracy was followed all over the world and this has precipitated a lot of debate especially from the Arab countries because they see this as the United States forcing its influence on the world’s countries. Apart from the Arab countries, the United States has also faced criticism from communist countries like former Russia and former China.

This animosity directed towards the United States also led to the fact that many terrorist outfits especially from the Arab countries have targeted the United States and the most memorable attack was the 9/11 terrorist attacks which precipitated the United States coming up with a new foreign policy which mandated the country to take any measures to protect the lives of the United States citizens and this means that the country has the right to go to war with any country that harbors terrorists and this was first directed to Afghanistan and later to the Republic of Iraq. This means that the country had the right to go to war with any country that threatens the safety of the people of the United States and a country that is believed to be supporting terrorists and also engaged in making weapons of mass destruction like Iraq is labeled an enemy of the United States. On the position of the United States, the country was in dire danger of being attacked by terrorists who would be supported by Iraq and who would be offered weapons by Iraq.

The other factor that led to the war was that the United States had made it in the Bush administration to make all the countries especially the Middle East region to be adopting democracy. However, Iraq was threatening to compromise this objectivity by the virtue that its regime was very dictatorial and that it was influencing other nations around the region. This means that the country was acting as a barrier to the United States’ objectivity. The country had a lot of problems with the people being subjected to gross human rights violations. The United Nations could not let this happen to any population and hence it needed the help of various countries so that it could rectify this problem. This meant the country would have to be forced to adopt a democratic kind of leadership. However, Saddam was not ready to adopt this kind of leadership and this is one of the reasons that the United States went to war with Iraq.

However, the war has been meted with a lot of controversies and widespread criticism, and the eventual trying and execution of the Iraq leader were seen by the majority of the people around the world as having to do with more than just spreading democracy and fighting international terrorism. This is because many people felt the war was fueled by differences between the two administrations and that the United States wanted to benefit from the fact that Iraq owned a lot of oil reserves and the United States wanted to control the oil from that country. However, these sentiments have no proof and it is hard to know if it is true. This is why this book undertakes is to let the people know that Saddam Hussein would have been an evil force in the world and this would have meant that many people would have died at the hands of the Iraq country if it continued to have the weapons of mass destruction. This means that Saddam Hussein would have brought about a lot of terror activities and would have subjected the Middle East region to gross dictatorial rule and the people of Iraq would also be subjected to bad leadership. This is why the war in Iraq would not have been evaded and though the country has not fully stabilized, it is seen as the country benefit a lot from the war in terms of safety, democracy, and the protection of human rights.


Kaplan, Lawrence F., and kristol, william. (2004). THE WAR OVER IRAQ. San Francisco: Encounter Books.

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