Deadly Betrayal: The Truth About Why the United States Invaded Iraq

Image of Deadly Betrayal: The Truth About Why the United States Invaded Iraq
Release Date: 
March 26, 2024
OR Books
Reviewed by: 

The Iraq War is only beginning to receive its due historical reckoning, with many new volumes uncovering the background of the 2003 invasion and discussing the biased, chaotic and often dysfunctional decision-making process that led to the invasion, occupation, and long insurgency in Iraq in the aftermath of 9/11. Important new volumes have examined the entire American relationship with Saddam Hussein and his vision for Iraqi dominance in the region, including his disastrous war with Iran, his quest for nuclear weapons, and his ill-fated invasion of Kuwait that eventually brought him into direct confrontation with the United States—twice.

This small volume, by a retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant who served during this period, makes a lot of very strong claims about the Bush Administration and its casus belli for invading Iraq in 2003. The author makes accusations that a small cabal of neocon Administration leaders, primarily Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and most importantly Douglas Feith, misled and outright lied to not only the American military that fought the war, but the American people the author claims were deceived into supporting the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq.

The author’s argument that there was a more sinister reason for the Iraq War is sometimes challenging to follow. First, he says the US went to war to exercise our global hegemony and to dominate the Middle East. Then he says the war was really about destroying Hamas and Hezbollah by taking out their state sponsors of Iraq, Iran, and Syria. He then asserts all those reasons were really about the domination of the Israel lobby in US foreign policy. Interestingly he does not state the war was about oil or securing big contracts for Halliburton, a company associated with Cheney and others in the Bush Administration that other opponents of the war have claimed over the last two decades.

While the author makes a lot of claims, there are few sources cited to substantiate them. The basis for most of the book is a project the author worked on called the Declassification Review Team (DRT), an effort by the Pentagon to review and prepare for declassification policy-planning documents related to the Iraq War. But none of these documents are directly cited and to date, none seems to be available to the general public.

There are very few other sources cited, and some that are cited were redacted during the classification review process required by the Pentagon before his book was published. There are numerous websites and books that discuss the planning for the Iraq War, using dozens of declassified documents and briefings, but none are used by the author. Even the clearly self-serving memoirs of the main architects of the war could have been used to support the author’s claims, but there are only about a dozen footnotes and no bibliography.

On balance, the revelations and accusations raised in this book are not really new, particularly that the senior leadership in the White House, National Security Council, and Pentagon cherry-picked intelligence to support their assertion that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), minimized contrary sources, and advocated that invading Iraq was the only available alternative. Numerous studies have pilloried the planning for the invasion as badly mismanaged, with bureaucratic in-fighting between Rumsfeld at the Pentagon and Colin Powell at the State Department leaving essentially no plan to rebuild Iraq with a functioning government.

Although no one can doubt the author’s sincere sympathy for his fellow veterans wounded both physically and mentally by these wars, the strong assertions he makes about the deadly betrayal by the Bush Administration and the neocons needs much more evidence to make his case.