When Policy Fails: How the Buck Was Passed When Kuwait Was Invaded

By Bernard Roshco

A paper by Bernard Roshco, spring 1992 fellow, analyzes the failures of the Bush administration’s policies toward Iraq prior to the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and the failings of the press in reporting on them. Roshco explores numerous questions. Why did President Bush and Secretary of State James Baker misread Hussein’s motivations so badly? What was their responsibility? What role did the press play in covering the cover-up which followed? Roshco reveals not only scapegoating at the highest levels of the Bush administration, but also of the reporters covering the story. This scapegoating would not have worked, argues Roshco, had the reporting been more inquisitive and directed. Roshco’s analysis highlights the importance of the need for an aggressive press that will help protect people from government malfeasance.

Download the paper (PDF).