The Hubris Syndrome


Owen, David

03/05/2012 | Paperback |

ISBN: 9780413777270

About The Hubris Syndrome

For some politicians and business leaders, power can become an intoxicating drug and can affect their actions and decision making in a most serious way. The ancient Greeks called it hubris and identified arrogance and contempt for others’ opinions as classic traits. They also took comfort in the knowledge that the Gods would punish the guilty ones – nemesis.

In this revised edition, David Owen has drawn on new material he has written in Brain and other medical journals. He has also drawn on published memoirs of the main players in the Iraq War and on evidence given to the Iraq Inquiry. All this reinforces his earlier assertion that George W Bush and Tony Blair developed hubris syndrome during their terms in office.

From their behaviour, beliefs and governing style, Owen has analysed the two leaders, with  particular reference to the Iraq War, to show that their handling of the war was a litany of hubristic incompetence.

During Blair’s premiership, David Owen had several meetings and conversations with him that afforded a unique insight into his modus operandi. In this book Owen presents a devastating critique of how Blair and Bush manipulated intelligence, ignored informed advice and failed to plan for the aftermath of regime change in Iraq. Their messianic manner, excessive confidence and belief that they would be vindicated by a ‘higher court’, brought chaos to Iraq and resulted in hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties.



David Owen

David Owen (Lord Owen) trained and practised as a medical doctor before being elected a Labour MP in his home city of Plymouth. He served as Foreign Secretary under James Callaghan from 1977 until 1979. He co-founded and went on to lead the Social Democratic Party (SDP), and is now a Crossbencher in the Lords. Among many books, he is the author of In Sickness and In Power - Illness in Heads of Government during the last 100 years, The Hubris Syndrome, Balkan Odyssey, a powerful autobiography, Time to Declare, the updated edition of which was published as part of Politico's Great Statesmen Series in August 2009, and a poetry anthology, Seven Ages.

David Owen is the author of a number of books on political subjects including The Hubris Syndrome (Methuen) and In Sickness and In Power (Methuen), both in-depth studies of the health of leaders in governments and the impact of illness on their effectiveness in office. He served as a Labour Party Member of Parliament for twenty-six years during which time he was Health Minister (1974–76) under Harold Wilson and Foreign Secretary (1976–79) under James Callaghan. He left the Labour Party when, under Michael Foot’s leadership, it lurched too far to the left. David Owen was one of the ‘Gang of Four’ to found the Social Democratic Party in 1983, which he led on two separate occasions. In 1992 David Owen was created a Life Peer and now sits as an independent social democrat in the House of Lords. Before entering Parliament, Lord Owen trained as a medical doctor at St Thomas’s Hospital, London, where he was Clinical Neurologist and Psychiatric Registrar. He has championed the NHS throughout its existence and is now a powerful advocate for its reinstatement to its original purpose.



“A doctor as well as a former Foreign Secretary, David Owen approaches the two coalition leaders of the Iraq fiasco as a psychiatrist might. This is psychobiography without the psychobabble. I found it absorbing, clear, lively and persuasive. I think David Owen is right.”

Matthew Parris, political journalist and broadcaster

Also by Owen, David
beylikduzu escort mature porno
replica watches