Iraq and the Crisis of Global Security Outline

Richard Butler’s; “The Greatest Threat: Iraq, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and the Crisis of Global Security.” The writer of this paper analyzes the book’s content and measures it against the current U.S. foreign policies. There was one source used to complete this paper.

When the Soviet Union began to dismantle and the Berlin Wall came down the United States breathed a sigh of relief as it appeared the threat of nuclear war were over. The calm was short lived however when the states went to battle against Saddam the first time as he threatened to destroy the United States with whatever means were needed. Twelve years later the nation is at war with Iraq again, and again it is over the accusation that Saddam Hussein is continuing to produce weapons of mass destruction. Author Richard Butler writes in his book “The Greatest Threat: Iraq, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and the Crisis of Global Security” the importance of not downplaying this concern. According to Butler; Iraq and its threat to the world through the use of weapons of mass destruction is one of the most pressing problems America currently faces.

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One of the things that makes this book more powerful than some of the others written about this topic is the fact that the author is non-other than the Richard Butler who served as the chairman of UNSCOM. This was the committee that was charged with inspecting Iraq following the first gulf war in 1991. The team was charged with checking Iraq for evidence of the manufacturing of weapons of mass destruction. Butler served in this capacity for five years from 1992-1997. In his quest he worked to stop Saddam Hussein’s ability to construct and stockpile weapons of mass destruction. Butler writes about being thwarted throughout the time he was on the job by several directions. One of the problems was the foreign minister of the nation, Tariq Aziz. In addition according to the author the members of the team who had motivations for their own nation’s were constantly going against his directives and trying to change the things that the committee was charged with doing. This book is interesting today, because of the situation the nation is currently facing As the country of France became more and more heated over the prospect of the U.S. attack Iraq many Americans wondered what it was the French were afraid the U.S. would find once they were in there. As the war unfolded it became apparent that the French have been undermining the United States for years. The words of Butler become more powerful and credible now that they can be measured against what the world is seeing happen with Syria, France and several other nations that have been found to have been playing games with Iraq and the U.S.

Butler wrote in his book that there was a serious problem with global security that was directly caused by the world’s seeming inability or unwillingness to force inspections on Saddam. The book foretells of things that the world is currently seeing come to pass and the words of Butler are now ringing true with each news broadcast of mounting evidence against Saddam.

Butler outlines the many ways the world is at danger by allowing Saddam to freely move about the nation and do what he wants to do. Butler urges America to continue in its quest and the book is a rousting endorsement of what America is attempting to do now in Iraq. The foreign policy of America today includes the search for terrorism and the destruction of its leaders and forces. The book written by Butler before the War on Terrorism even began supports just such an action. It is a revealing plea to the United States to do exactly what it is currently doing which is a telling story in and of itself as it dovetails with Butler’s ideas in the book.

Butler tells of the work he tried to complete with the committee and the fact that the inspection team was eventually thrown out of Iraq. In an almost Late Great Planet Earth type eeriness his predictions of the future are coming to pass and his insistence on the importance of continued diligence with regard to Saddam Hussein has become the national cry of the majority of Americans.

As Butler explains the purpose of the United Nations Special Commission and its members it begins to sound like a recital of the United States current foreign nation policy. It is extremely interesting that the events triggering the book happened a decade before the current Iraq situation and resolution by America to go in with or without the world’s support and by doing so the nation believed it was strengthening global security.

While the beginning of the book seems wasted with the childhood of Butler it is something that needed to be touched on to understand how he arrived in the place to be appointed to the head of the UNSCOM.

A lot of the book is dedicated to detailing why Saddam thought he was not defeated in the war. It is an important point to understand because it is germane to what the U.S. had to do in the current war to have Saddam accept his defeat. When the last war occurred Butler details the belief by Saddam that if he had not been removed from power he did not lose the war. This confidence caused him to begin working to oust the USCOM and in particular Richard Butler. In this quest Saddam included the removal of Butler in the list of things he offered to do to avoid being bombed by Clinton. Butler outlines the many acts of deceit that were performed by Saddam and sanctioned by the UN. This outline provides strength for the decision by America in this later war to go against the UN and just take care of what needs to be taken care of.

Butler sets a strong case for the current war that America wages on Iraq. It is important to understand the betrayal Butler felt when he was given the job to clean up the question of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. History has one other much larger example in the Viet Nam War. During that conflict vets came home upset because they were told to do a job and then when they got there and began to do the job they were thwarted at every turn. This is similar to what Butler lays out in this book about Iraq’s threat to global security. He details the job he and others in the inspection team was told to do and then details all the ways they were stopped and blocked from doing that job. The book sets the stage for support in America’s current foreign policy as it pertains to the current threat of weapons of mass destruction.


This book opens the door to the current situation in Iraq. It details exactly why it is important for America to do what it is currently doing and it allows the reader to read detailed descriptions of the acts of deception and the failures to act that were witnessed a decade ago. Butler had no way of knowing the current war would begin which makes his by-product support of such a war more credible. He inadvertently discusses the need for this current war and commends the states ability to wage such a war on a nation and leader that he believes is one of the greatest threats to global safety in the world.

Works Cited

The Greatest Threat: Iraq, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and the Crisis of Global Security by Richard Butler, James Charles Roy

PublicAffairs; Reprint edition (May 22, 2001)

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