Taking just forty days from conception to delivery-from September 3 to October 15, 1990 - this is the publishing equivalent of Saddam Husayn's Blitzkrieg in Kuwait. And with 425,000 in advance sales, Saddam Hussein and the Crisis in the Gulf is likely to be the book that most influences American thinking about the Persian Gulf. The results are stunningly good; indeed, parts of the study provide important and novel insights into Saddam Husayn and his decision to invade Kuwait. Mylroie's biography of Saddam Husayn fleshes out a story that has long been murky; the chapter on the Iraq-Iran war benefits from the author's insider information; and the survey of events since the war ended breaks new ground.
However excellent the history, the political analysis leaves something to be desired. Miller flatly asserts in her conclusion that "Americans went to the Gulf for oil," a curious statement which entirely ignores the many other issues at stake in this conflict - including the buildup of an Iraqi nuclear arsenal and the wrong precedent for a new world order. She then ends the book with the hope that "the foray in the Gulf," which she characterizes as one of the last adventures in America's "short-lived empire," will force the country to face facts, and to abandon the motives "which have misled us so long so disastrously." Just one question: if American policy during the past forty-five years have been a disaster, what would success have looked like?