ASA Press Releases
Contact: Jackie Cooper or Lee Herring
Phone: (202) 247-9871

RSS Feed
Subscribe to ASA News Updates
Follow us on Twitter

July 26, 2007

Sociologist Available to Comment on Reasons the U.S. Entered the Iraq War and Why it Is a Prolonged War

WASHINGTON, DC—While politics and a “peculiar foreign-policy vision” were the reasons behind the decision to go to war, lack of foresight and organization has kept us in it, according to University of California-Davis sociologist Fred Block.

The Bush administration’s foreign policy was already laid out in the pronouncement of the Project for a New American Century’s (PNAC) 1997 Statement of Principles, which was endorsed by Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz. In the Summer 2007 issue of Contexts, Block claims that “[The PNAC] drafters imagined that if the United States showed greater eagerness to use its military might, it would greatly enhance its bargaining power in the international arena.” They believed this action would solidify the Republican coalition. And the September 11, 2001, attacks created the perfect political opportunity for the United States to use its military might.

While Bush and Rumsfeld envisioned a short, triumphant war, what has transpired is a prolonged war in Iraq. In the Contexts article, Block outlines seven deep flaws in the way the administration made decisions and disastrous policy choices that assured that the goals of the war's architects would not be achieved. These flaws include: A lack of effective coordination within the executive branch, no backup plan facilitating a quick U.S. exit, and no unified command on the ground in Iraq, which led to civilian and military conflict.

“The mistakes of the U.S. occupation expanded the opportunities for the Sunni insurgency to flourish,” says Block in the Contexts article. “Its escalating attacks led to a vicious cycle of sectarian polarization and reprisals that blocked any effective process of economic or political reconstruction.”

About the American Sociological Association
The American Sociological Association (, founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society.