Political Economy of International Crisis

Economics 357L

Special Section

Crisis: Iraq? Terrorism? Oil? Empire?


This part is taken from Section II on the Crisis of Diplomacy.

The following quote and image was widely circulated last Spring by those opposed to George Bush's ordering US military forces into Iraq and to the crack-down on domestic civil liberties embodied in the Patriot Act


Carnegie Endowment, Reconstructing Iraq Webpage.

* Project for the New American Century, Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century, September 2000.

Sebastian Mallaby, "Terrorism, Failed States, and the Case for American Empire," Foreign Affairs, March-April 2002. Available through ERes

Giles Trendle, "The Aftermath of Regime Change," The Middle East, August/September 2003.

Dusko Doder, "How Not to Overthrow Saddam: The Bush Plan and the Alternatives," The American Prospect, July 15, 2002.

Immanuel Wallerstein, "The Eagle Has Crashed Landed," Foreign Policy, July-Ausgust 2002. Available through ERes

Marina Ottaway, "Nation Building," Foreign Policy, September - October 2002.

*Jay Bookman, "The President's Real Goal in Iraq," The Atlantic Journal-Constitution, September 29, 2002. Available through ERes

*The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, September 2002.

State of the Union Address to Congress, January 2004.

*Donald Kagan,"Comparing America to ancient empires is 'ludicrous'," Atlantic Journal-Constitution, October 6, 2002. Available through ERes

John Lewis Gaddis, "A Grand Strategy of Transformation," Foreign Policy, January - February 2003. Available through ERes

Midnight Notes, Respect your Enemies - The First Rule of Peace: An Essay Addressed to the U.S. Anti-war Movement, 2002.

CNN, Ex-CIA head James Woolsey on Fourth World War, April 2, 2003.

*Subcomandante Marcos, What are the Characteristics of the Fourth World War?, November 20, 1999. Translated from Revista Rebeldia, February 2003.

John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, "An Unnecessary War," Foreign Policy, January - February 2003. Available through ERes

George W. Bush, Jr., "State of the Union Address," January 2003. Also available through ERes


This part is taken from Section V on Energy Crises.

1. Sources of Information

Crisis in Iraq Webpage. Mainstream US News Sources: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN.com

Major Alternative News Sources: Russian Site #1, Russian Site #2, Indymedia, you can also access a large number of particular Indymedia sites such as the one at San Francisco, Al Jazeerah - a major source of news from Arab media, Arab News - from Saudia Arabia.

2. Media and the War: Critical Views

FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting) Commentaries on news reporting on the war in Iraq.

Al Jazeerah on the difference between itself and CNN.

J.Donnelly & A.Barnard, "Differing TV Images Feed Arab, US Views", Boston Globe, March 3, 2003.

LaborStart, "International Federation of Journalists Say Attacks on Journalists are Crimes of War and Must be Punished," April 8, 2003. Available through ERes.

4. The Bush Jr. Administration, Background and Claims: Saddam, WMD & Terrorism

The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, September 2002. A National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction, December 2002.

Excerpts from 2003 State of the Union Speech, January 28, 2003.

Kenneth M. Pollack, The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq, 2002.

Typical of the arguments put forward by the Bush administration as to why invading Iraq would be a good idea, how it wouldn't cost much because it would be paid for by Iraq oil exports and how Iraqi's would welcome US soldiers with open arms. See Pollack's later book, and Myre's review below.

Lawrence Kaplan & William Kristol, The War Over Iraq: Saddam's Tyranny and America's Mission, San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2003. Chapters Seven to Nine. Available through ERes.

M.Dobbs, "US Had Key Role in Iraq Buildup: Trade in Chemical Arms Allowed Despite Their Use on Iranians, Kurds", Washington Post, December 30, 2002.

*Institute for Policy Studies Report, Crude Vision: How Oil Interests Obscured Government Focus on Chemical Weapons Use by Saddam Hussein, March 2003. Press Release: Rumsfeld Ignored Weapons of Mass Destruction in Pursuit of Oil Pipeline, March 24, 2003. Another report outlining essentials of IPS Report: Dave Lindorff, "Crude History Lesson: Is the War about oil after all?", In These Times, March 27, 2003.

Richard Oppel, "Bechtel Has Ties in Washington, and to Iraq," New York Times, April 17, 2003. Available through ERes.

Doug Ireland, a review of: Peter Mantius, Shell Game: A True Story of Banking, Spies, Lies, Politics - and the Arming of Saddam Hussein, The Nation, June 10, 1996. Available through ERes.

Joost Hilterman, "America Didn't mind Poison Gas," International Herald Tribune, January 17, 2003. Available through ERes.

Steven Pelletiere, "A War Crime or an Act of War?", New York Times, January 31, 2003. Available through ERes.

Carnegie Endowment Collection of Materials on UN Inspections

John B. Kiesling, A US Diplomat's Letter of Resignation, New York Times, February 27, 2003.

J.Cirincione, et al, WMD in Iraq: Evidence and Implications, Carnegie Endowment, January 2004.

*House Judiciary Committee (Democratic Staff), The Constitution in Crisis: The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution and Coverups in the Iraq War, 2005, Chapter Four: Legal Analysis.

James Risen, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration, New York: Free Press, 2006.

Risen is National Security correspondent for the New York Times. Drawing largely on anonymous insiders of the American intelligence community, Risen gives a detailed account of how the Bush administration ignored the analysis of CIA professionals and drew on raw, unrealiable data that fit their already-decided decision to invade Iraq in order to justify that action to the world. In the process the Administration caused a crisis not only between itself and the intelligence community but within that community as well. For a non-anonymous insider account verifying Risen's tale, see the article by ex-CIA Officer Paul Pillar below.

*Paul R. Pillar, "Intelligence, Policy, and the War in Iraq," Foreign Affairs, March/April 2006.

Pillar was National Intelligence Officer in the CIA for the Near East and South Asia from 2000 to 2005. This article, made available on the Foreign Affairs website in advance of publication, presents an insider's analysis of Bush Administrations cherry-picking of intelligence and the crisis it caused in the relationship between the Intelligence Community and the White House, and thus within that community itself. It verifies much of what appears in Risen's book, cited above.

*James Risen, "Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts," The New York Times, December 16, 2005.

This is the article that broke the story of the Bush Administrations secret program of using the National Security Agency (NSA) to bypass the FISA courts and spy on Americans.

*Department of Justice, "The NSA Program to Detect and Prevent Terrorists Attacks: Myth v. Reality", January 27, 2006.

Unable to locate the Department of Justice letter to Congress mentioned in the article below, I did find summary of that department's rationale for President Bush's violation of the law mandating judicial clearance for NSA wiretapping: his supposedly legal right as Commander in Chief to ignore laws that constrain his actions in Defense of the United States. Read this, then the critique of the legal logic given in the letter by constitutional lawyers in the letter to Congress below.

*Constitutional Lawyers, On NSA Spying: A Letter to Congress, The New York Review of Books, Vol. 53, No. 2, February 9, 2006.

This letter, signed by fourteen scholars and former government officials, dissects and critiques the Department of Justice's rationale for President Bush's violation of existing law (FISA) on electronic surveillance and the surveillance of American citizens.

Kenneth M. Pollack, A Path Out of the Desert: A Grand Strategy for America in the Middle East, New York: Random House, 2008.

On this book see Greg Myre's review in the Washington Post where he points reminds readers of Pollack's misjudgement in his earlier book (see above) endorsing the case for invading Iraq.

5. Oil War?

Nelson Mandela, All Bush Wants is Iraqi Oil, IOL.com, South Africa, January 30, 2003.

Global Policy Forum Web Site on Iraqi Oil.

Baker Institute, "Strategic Energy Policy: Challenges for the 21st Century," 2001. For an Executive Summary follow the links to Publications/Studies.

Neil MacKay, "Official: US Oil at the Heart of Iraq Crisis," Sunday Herald (Scotland), October 6, 2002.

Michael Renner, "Bood & Oil: Alternatives to War with Iraq", World Watch Institute, November 22, 2002.

6. War for Empire?

The Editors, "US Imperial Ambitions and Iraq" Monthly Review, Vol. 54, No. 7, 2002.

Antonio Negri, "The Order of War", Global Magazine(Italy), November 2002.

7. The Costs of War

William Nordhaus, "The Economic Consequences of a War with Iraq," Yale University, November 2002.

Mark Stoker, "The Cost of Militry Intervention in Iraq," International Institute for Strategic Studies, no date given.

Letter from 1,000 War Veterans to George Bush, March 10, 2003.

Liam McDougall, "The Looting of Babylon: Western Inaction has led to the pillaging of priceless cultural treasures," The Sunday Herald, April 20, 2003.

"Aid Groups Warn of Disaster in Iraq", The Observer(UK), December 22, 2002.

*Institute for Policy Studies, "The Iraq Quagmire: The Mounting Costs of the Iraq War," January 30, 2006.