Plan II Honors Logo
Plan II Honors

2003 Worthington Essay Prize

Worthington Essay Contest Prize Winners, 2003:


Assume that ten years from now, in 2013, you are a tenured professor of American history at a prestigious university and are free to express your opinions without fear of retaliation. Your specialty is American foreign policy. You are writing a 7 page retrospective analysis of the merits of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

In your article, which you hope to publish in a mass-market news magazine, you first examine the stated objectives of the invasion and the allegations of fact underlying them. You consider whether any reason or combination of reasons was sufficient to justify the U.S. led invasion in 2003 at that time.

Next you will consider in the light of subsequent events (between 2003 and 2013) whether the invasion succeeded in its aims. With your (hypothetical) knowledge of the economic, political, cultural and environmental status of Iraq and the Middle East in 2013, please address the question: "Was it worth it?" In this second part you may invent any future that you can make plausible to your readers.

In your essay, address at least two objectives, which may or may not be included on the following list:

  1. To reduce the threat from Al Quaeda and other Islamic terrorists.
  2. To prevent Saddam Hussein from using weapons of mass destruction that pose an imminent threat to health, safety and welfare of Americans in the U.S.
  3. To liberate Iraqi citizens from a tyrannical regime with a track record of torture, murder, and repression.
  4. To replace the Baathist regime with a democratic form of government, which will increase stability in the middle east by serving as an example for other Islamic nations. Judges of the essays will include both hawks and doves.

  •   Map
  • Plan II Honors Program

    University of Texas at Austin
    305 East 23rd St
    RLP 2.102
    Austin, Texas, 78712-1250