The 2003 Iraq War

  • Julie GareyEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in International Relations book series (PSIR)


The execution of the 2003 Iraq War, like the war in Afghanistan, resulted from US foreign policy changes in the post-9/11 period. However, unlike Afghanistan, the United States lacked widespread support for intervention. This chapter begins with an introduction to the disputes between the United States, the UN, and NATO over the Iraq War. The second section of this chapter demonstrates the effects of the Iraq debate on US-NATO relations. The third section of this chapter further addresses the question of legitimacy. I demonstrate how the United States first pursued international support via the United Nations, then multilateral support through NATO, and finally assembled the coalition because it wanted to enhance the legitimacy of its actions. The legitimacy of the United States’ actions in Iraq was not significantly challenged by the absence of NATO. The United States’ continued engagement with NATO also served a practical purpose—because the allies were fully engaged in Afghanistan, the United States could divert additional resources to the Iraq effort. Although the alliance did not undertake the war in Iraq, there is no evidence of the Bush administration devaluing the utility of the alliance, or the importance of multilateralism.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA

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