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The idea of direct invasion is the greatest threat to Saddam. It avoids the problems of securing local allies, inside and outside Iraq, which bedevil any indirect approach to get rid of him. But it has one immense disadvantage from the US point of view ...if the US invades Iraq to install its own government it will be taking direct physical control of an area containing more than half the world's oil reserves. It will look like the founding of a new American empire based on physical force and will be deeply resented ...It would outrage the Arabs at a moment when the Israel-Palestine conflict is in a particularly bloody phase. America could find that it has overplayed its hand, just as Saddam did when he invaded Kuwait twelve years ago. -- From the new Prologue At the outset of the 1991 Gulf War, US leaders resolved the 'Iraqis will pay the price', so long as Saddam Hussein remained in power. This book makes chillingly clear just how terrible that price has been. Eleven years ago Saddam was caught by surprise; his preparations since September 11 show that lessons have been learnt. In a substantial new prologue the authors analyse these preparations and the terrifying consequences of a military invasion of Iraq.
Patrick Cockburn has been a senior Middle East correspondent for the Financial Times and the Independent since 1979. Among the most experience commentators on Iraq, he was one of the few journalists to remain in Baghdad during the Gulf War. Andrew Cockburn is the author of several books on defence and international affairs. He has written about the Middle East for The New Yorker and co-produced the 1991 PBS documentary in Iraq, The War We Left Behind. He lives in Washington, D.C.