chapter  2
28 Pages

The Bush Doctrine: preventive war in Iraq

Having estab lished the meanings and definitions associated with pre-emption and pre ven tion, and the extent to which preventive war was con sidered a viable option by his Administration; the next task for Bush was to “choose” a state in which to undertake the preventive war strat egy. It was clear that from 2001 to 2003, Iraq, Iran, and North Korea were all perceived to be “grave and gath er ing threats”—and were all con sidered rogue proliferators. Assuming that the US was determined to act preventively against at least one of them, one would expect to find evid ence that the Bush Administration sought and/or planned to attack all three. From the beginning, how ever, it appeared that the Administration’s preferred target was Iraq. As indicated by Clarke, the US “planned early on to elim in ate Saddam Hussein.”1 That is, on Novem ber 21, 2001, only two months after the Septem ber 11 terrorist attacks, Bush reportedly asked Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, “what kind of a war plan do you have for Iraq? How do you feel about the war plan for Iraq?”2 Furthermore, within days of the pub lication of the National Security Strategy, the Bush Administration announced that a senior State Department official would travel to Pyongyang in Octo ber to reengage the North Koreans on secur ity issues, while others were quietly working to secure Iranian neutrality in the case of a war with Iraq.3 Why was this the case? If the Iranian and North Korean regimes were just as de spic able and dangerous as Iraq, why did the Bush Administration seek con cili ation with the former and war with the latter? Or, as Senator Richard Durbin inquired in a Septem ber 10, 2002 speech to Congress, “If all three are threats and enemies to the US, why is it that the Administration has focused on Iraq.”4 Indeed, if preventive war was to be undertaken, why was Iraq the state of “choice” for the Administration? These questions, together with those pertaining to the events sur round ing the justification and lead up to the actual declaration of war, are addressed in this chapter, and thereby, will enable later ana lysis on the extent to which the National Security Strategy (in its preventive en dorsement and as pira tions) has been evid ent and perhaps even implicit in US secur ity strat egy since the end of World War II.