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The Road to Iraq

The Making of a Neoconservative War

Muhammad Idrees Ahmad

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A rigorous investigation into the socio-political milieu that produced the Iraq war

Despite all that has been written on it, the Iraq war – its causes, agency and execution – has been shrouded in an ideological mist. Now, Muhammad Idrees Ahmad dispels the myths surrounding the war, taking a sociological approach to establish the war’s causes, identify its agents and describe how it was sold.

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1. Black Gold and Red Herrings
2. Origins and Interests
3. Ideology and Institutions
4. Setting the Agenda
5. Selling the War
Appendix: Mearsheimer and Walt, Redux.

About the Author

Muhammad Idrees Ahmad is a Lecturer in Digital Journalism at the University of Stirling. He has a doctorate in Sociology and his articles and essays have appeared in The Atlantic, The New Republic, Al Jazeera, The Nation, Le Monde Diplomatique, Guernica, Adbusters, IPS News, Political Insight and the London Review of Books blog. He has also appeared as a political analyst on the BBC, Al Jazeera, RAI TV, and various international radio channels. He edits


This forcefully argued and meticulously researched (with no fewer than 1,152 footnotes, many of which are full-blown paragraphs) book turns out to be enormously relevant to the present moment … Let me reiterate the enormous significance and relevance of The Road to Iraq. It is a work of tremendous intellectual diligence and moral seriousness. We are all indebted to Ahmad for undertaking this major contribution to the debate on one of the central events of this century, whose aftershocks continue to unfold daily, to disastrous effect. With the neocons poised to make a comeback, this book serves as a cautionary tale of bracing urgency. It is a must-read guide to the history of the present.

- Danny Postel, Associate Director of the Center for Middle East Studies, University of Denver, The Drouth
Ahmad, who teaches journalism in the UK and writes for a variety of American and European publications, traces the remarkable history of neoconservatism in minute detail. He demonstrates its consistent role as the voice of cold-war thinking, segueing smoothly from militant anti-Communism of the era of Scoop Jackson (the 'Senator from Boeing') to the new opportunities afforded by Islamic fundamentalism since the 1990s.
- James B. Rule, Dissent

The Road to Iraq is one of the most insightful and instructive books for anyone wanting to know why the United States launched the Iraq War, one of the biggest blunders in the history of US foreign policy … The Road to Iraq is an illuminating read about one of the most disturbing episodes in recent US history. What the neocons did in hijacking US policy was the closest thing to a coup that the United States ever experienced, and this book does an excellent job of explaining how the coup-plotters pulled it off.

- Paul R. Pillar, Center for Security Studies, Georgetown University, International Journal of Middle East Studies

A superb analysis of how and why a small band of neoconservatives helped push the United States into a disastrous war. Far from being tough-minded patriots, Ahmad reveals them to be deceitful and manipulative self-promoters who remain influential in policy-making circles, despite the enormous cost of their past follies. His analysis is nuanced, his research comprehensive, and the story he tells is profoundly disturbing.

- Stephen Walt, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

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