64 OCTOBER 2017 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Neither objection seemed to influ- ence the Bush administration, not when they were combating an “axis of evil” by attacking Saddam’s imagined weapons of mass destruction. Pres. Bush even made a point of ominously ridiculing the French president’s stance on the matter: “Chirac has pushed it to the point where there’s a huge anti-French backlash in America,” Bush told Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern on March 13, 2003. “He’s taken it too far.” Unfortunately, history would favor France’s anti-war position over that of the United States. And what the Bush administration got for its miscalcula- tion was eight years of war, 4,424 dead Americans and 31,952 wounded. What the “liberated” Iraqis got was 134,000 killed, with another 400,000 deaths to which the war contributed. Financially, the war cost the United States “$1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest,” Reuters World News reported on March 14, 2013. Noted economists and politicians even blamed the war for contributing to the global Great Recession of 2008- 2009. Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-win- ning economist, testified before the U.S. Senate’s Joint Economic Committee in 2008 that the war had “weaken[ed] the American economy.” What it did, though, to Iraq’s econ- omy was to wreak absolute havoc that, in turn, destabilized an already fragile society, fueling the violence that would culminate in the creation and prolifera- tion of the terrorist group known as the Islamic State. Today, Paris and Washington have reconciled, working together to fight the rise of terrorism, much of it prompted by the very war that divided them 14 years ago. Country-specific squabbles aside, A History of the Iraq Crisis reminds us of two things. First is the danger of unilater- alism in military ventures. Allies should be considered equal partners in world affairs. Disagreements should not under- mine bilateral relations, but friendship and solidarity call for frankness. Second, our country needs to invest in maintaining a cadre of exceptional statesmen and diplomats. In 2002 and 2003 it was France that tried to put the brakes on a deteriorating situation. But someday, with the rise of superpowers in Asia, it may well be the United States in the diplomatic hot seat, sounding the voice of reason in talks with some much larger, newly-crowned hyper- power intent on flexing its own military might. n Diana Clark Gill is the author of How We Are Changed by War: A Study of Letters and Diaries from Colonial Conflicts to Operation Iraqi Freedom (Routledge, 2010). Today, Paris and Washington have reconciled, working together to fight the rise of terrorism, much of it prompted by the very war that divided them 14 years ago. Take AFSA With You! Change your address online, visit us at www.afsa.org/ address Or Send changes to: AFSAMembership Department 2101 E Street NW Washington, DC 20037 Moving?