War of Necessity, War of Choice: A Memoir of Two Iraq Wars


Richard Nathan Haass, former Director of Policy Planning in the U.S. State Department, and current President of the Council on Foreign Relations, was one of a handful of top government officials involved in the decision-making process during both Iraq conflicts.

In his new book, War of Necessity, War of Choice, he explains precisely how and why the two Iraq wars resulted from two very different policymaking processes and two fundamentally different approaches to U.S. foreign policy.

Reviews & Endorsements

“Haass … astutely notes the two presidents’ differing management styles. … A unique perspective on how war policy was formed by two very different presidents.” Kirkus Reviews

“This is not your usual foreign policy tome. It is a vivid, honest account of recent history from the author’s unique vantage points inside the White House and the State Department. Richard Haass is always intelligent. In this book he teaches us a great deal about how American foreign policy should be made, what it should seek to accomplish, and how it should be carried out. The result is a fascinating memoir and a primer for the future.” Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International and author of The Post-American World

“This important book, written with style and polish, is what history needs more of: first-person testimony on crucial events from those who were there. Haass takes us into the heart of the decision making of the first Gulf War and witnesses the morass that produced the Iraq invasion. But it is also, at bottom, a personal primer on what it is to dissent on policy from the inside, on when to stay in government, and when to go. A narrative that moves forward at a great pace but with real historical and academic ballast.” Peggy Noonan, columnist for the Wall Street Journal and author of Patriotic Grace

“In this compelling and important volume, a world-class scholar and diplomat takes us behind the scenes of both American wars against Saddam Hussein. Richard Haass’s book is full of surprises. It will do much to shape the way historians come to understand the American experience in Iraq. But more crucial, Haass’s story deserves every American’s attention now to make sure that we all learn from both the victories and the tragedies.” Michael Beschloss, author of Presidential Courage

“When a nation faces that gravest of decisions—is it justified in going to war?—abstract moral principles alone don’t suffice. Richard Haass, an insider who participated in the making of two very different wars with Iraq, provides a finely textured account that applies the writings about just and unjust wars to the real world. His blend of conceptual thinking and concrete experience makes for an engrossing tale that educates in every sense.” Peter Steinfels, codirector of the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture and author of A People Adrift

To order this book, please click here.

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