It is September 1980 and Iraqi forces are invading Iran - escalating what had been a conflict of words and mutual political interference into open war. Saddam Hussein stands before the Iraqi National Assembly and declares that the 1975 Algiers Agreement with Iran had been violated and is now void. Were the Iraqi actions part of a rational political strategy that balanced ends, ways, means, and risks? Or was the Iraqi invasion a shortsighted action that failed to support strategic political objectives? Our conclusion: Iraq made a rational, last resort, choice in going to war, but Saddam miscalculated the nature of his conflict with Iran. His mistaken belief that limited means could achieve unlimited aims led to political stalemate, dismal results on the battlefield, and near destruction of Iraq's economy. Failure to achieve his grand political objectives did not, however, prevent Saddam from achieving the goal he valued most. At the end, he remained in power with a greatly reduced internal and external threat. Yet Saddam did not clearly link his national security and military strategies, and his Pyrrhic victory highlighted his failure to understand the more complex components of the national security decision-making process.