The attacks of 9/11 helped shape a broad consensus about the primacy of the threat of weapons of mass destruction in this age of mega terrorism. With the terrorism and WMD template in place, Washington saw war with Iraq as not only inevitable but even desirable, and theories have swirled ever since as to why the Bush administration was so eager to launch an attack. In The Alternative, William M. Arkin argues that to conclude that the Iraq war was the result merely of deceit and manipulation is to ignore the hammerlock of a like-minded and broadly based special interest national security community and its entrenched orthodoxy that includes Republicans and Democrats, right and left. Any “return” to some bipartisan consensus in foreign policy is both dangerous and illusionary.
A new approach to national security is needed: Citizen involvement and control that includes a rejection of self-serving government secrecy and the notion that the security issues challenging our nation are too difficult for the layperson to understand. Arkin provides an enduring framework, built upon traditional American values, for understanding the events of the day and constructing our military and intelligence organizations for the future.show more