8.1 Introduction to the Iraq Analysis
This chapter provides an example of using this book’s approach to analyse a complex problem. The decision to invade Iraq in 2003 involved all five dimensions of power and it had both local and global consequences. Sir John Chilcot’s Report of the Iraq Inquiry, which was published in July 2016, has now provided more information than was available when the first edition of this book was published in January 2013 – but the earlier analysis still offers a useful example of the book’s methodology.
The chapter has been rewritten, to summarise the logic and conclusions of the original analysis and then note the differences between that and the Chilcot Report. The Edition 2 version of this chapter (which was published in 2014) has been archived on the PatternsofPower website and is linked to from the current text. An additional segment has been added (8.8), to summarise how the Chilcot report differed from this book’s analysis.
The scope of the chapter is unchanged. It analyses the decision to go to war, and only uses information that was available at the time of the decision (whereas the Chilcot report also considers the conduct of the war). It provides an assessment of the decision-making process.
Sections 8.2 – 8.6 were written to explore the perspectives of the countries affected by the invasion of Iraq. They drew upon public-domain information to explore factors that were relevant to the decision made by America and Britain. The material is all archived under Edition 2 on the website, but is only listed here as a series of links for the sake of brevity. The original summary of the conclusions from that analysis, though, is repeated below in its entirety – with some endnotes pulled into the main text, URLs refreshed where necessary, and minor formatting changes (8.7).