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The Polarized Presidency of George W. Bush$
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George C Edwards III and Desmond King

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199217977

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199217977.001.0001

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“The Decider's” Path to War in Iraq and the Importance of Personality

“The Decider's” Path to War in Iraq and the Importance of Personality

(p.145) 5 “The Decider's” Path to War in Iraq and the Importance of Personality
The Polarized Presidency of George W. Bush

Thomas S. Langston

Oxford University Press

The purpose of this chapter is not to second-guess the president's decision to go to war with Iraq, but to inquire into the possibility that it represents an outstanding example of the influence of personality upon decision making of the highest importance. The chapter proceeds first by presenting a composite view of the personality of the president, taking into account both his major personality traits and his world-view. Next, it breaks down the decision for war in Iraq into seven discrete decisions. The first six progressively made war increasingly likely. The last was the final decision to launch the invasion. Each decision is characterized based on the major actors who influenced the president's choice, the manner in which the decision was made, and the practical consequences of each choice for the likelihood of war. There is compelling evidence that personal factors drove the decision to wage war in Iraq.

Keywords:   Bush Administration, God, Iraq, presidency, decision-making, personality

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