Sunday, May 20, 2007

They Can't Say They Weren't Warned

None of the assessments in these two reports would have been particularly surprising to an average undergraduate student of international relations at a mediocre college or university, but it is interesting to see that a paper trail of warnings existed and was circulated to policymakers prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Two intelligence assessments from January 2003 predicted that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and subsequent U.S. occupation of Iraq could lead to internal violence and provide a boost to Islamic extremists and terrorists in the region, according to congressional sources and former intelligence officials familiar with the prewar studies.

The two assessments, titled "Principal Challenges in Post-Saddam Iraq" and "Regional Consequences of Regime Change in Iraq," were produced by the National Intelligence Council (NIC) and will be a major part of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's long-awaited Phase II report on prewar intelligence assessments about Iraq. The assessments were delivered to the White House and to congressional intelligence committees before the war started. ...

The assessment on post-Hussein Iraq included judgments that while Iraq was unlikely to split apart, there was a significant chance that domestic groups would fight each other and that ex-regime military elements could merge with terrorist groups to battle any new government. It even talks of guerrilla warfare, according to congressional sources and former intelligence officials.

The second NIC assessment discussed "political Islam being boosted and the war being exploited by terrorists and extremists elsewhere in the region," one former senior analyst said. It also suggested that fear of U.S. military dominance and occupation of a Middle East country -- one sacred to Islam -- would attract foreign Islamic fighters to the area. ...

The NIC assessments also projected the view that a long-term Western military occupation would be widely unacceptable, particularly to the Iraqi military. It also said Iraqis would wait and see whether the new governing authority, whether foreign or Iraqi, would provide security and basic services such as water and electricity. ...

The senior intelligence official said that the prewar analysis of challenges in post-Hussein Iraq contained little in the way of classified information since it was an assessment of future situations and was almost all analysis. The assessment of regional consequences of regime change in Iraq would require deletions since it contains "comments on the policies and perspectives of some friendly governments."


Blogger DrewL said...

Obviously, nobody of import paid any attention to these very prescient analyses. Or, if they did pay attention, they certainly decided to turn a blind eye to them. How convenient. Anyone with any historical perspective whatsoever could have foretold of an influx of foreign fighters. The same thing happened over the last two decades in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation and it almost happened again in Bosnia. This is recent history, not rocket science.

Clearly, the warning signs went unheeded on purpose. There was - and is - a far bigger game being played out than being concerned about the destabilization of Iraq and an influx of foreign fighters. In fact, the strategy employed at the beginning of the war purposely neglected to secure the borders. That's basic military strategy, albeit one that couldn't be carried out without the deployment far more troops. And we know all about the Pentagon's desire to minimize troop involvement, which went against the recommendations of senior military advisors.

With the release of these reports, is the noose beginning to tighten around the necks of the Bush administration? One could only hope.

5/20/2007 6:08 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...


Absolutely right on all those points.

Also, it is very suspicious that Bush and Cheney mined every tidbit of questionable and outright bogus "intelligence" about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, but willfully ignored all the warnings they were given about the ramifications of invading Iraq.

Come to think of it, they ignored all those pre 9/11 warnings about Al Qaeda wanting to strike in the United States too.

I don't think I like the emerging pattern. Hmm...

And since these NIC reports were circulated to some members of Congress, it makes their vote to authorize the invasion so much more suspect.

5/20/2007 6:38 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home