Source: Freedom of Information Act The "Future of Iraq Project" was a mammoth 13-volume State Department study obtained by the National Security Archive and others under the Freedom of Information Act. To prepare the report, the Department organized over 200 Iraqi engineers, lawyers, businesspeople, doctors and other experts into 17 working groups to strategize on topics including the following: public health and humanitarian needs, transparency and anti-corruption, oil and energy, defense policy and institutions, transitional justice, democratic principles and procedures, local government, civil society capacity building, education, free media, water, agriculture and environment and economy and infrastructure.
One of the more optimistic sections dealt with oil and energy.
Document 4: United Kingdom, Matthew Rycroft, Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, Cabinet Minutes of Discussion, S 195/02, July 23, 2002 Source: Printed in The Sunday Times, May 1, 2005, Downing Street Documents These notes offer insight into the attitude of the Bush administration toward regime change, the U. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, noting "the case was thin," argued for enlisting U. Secretary of State Colin Powell to persuade President Bush to back U. inspections, but he warned, "It seemed clear that Bush has made up his mind to take military action." Document 5: U. A series of declassified briefing slides document these planning revisions.
Rumsfeld wanted the Iraq invasion to be an exemplar of modern technological warfare, so the troop levels recommended by planners for a successful invasion were downgraded over time during the planning phase in accordance with the secretary's philosophy.
"These dozen documents provide essential reading for anyone trying to understand the Iraq war," remarked Joyce Battle, Archive senior analyst who is compiling a definitive reference collection of declassified documents on the Iraq War.
"At a moment when the public is debating the costs and consequences of the U. invasion, these primary sources refresh the memory and ground the discussion with contemporary evidence." A decade after the U. invasion of Iraq (March 19, 2003), the debate continues over whether the United States truly believed that Iraq's supposed WMD capabilities posed an imminent danger, and whether the results of the engagement have been worth the high costs to both countries. The CIA leadership participated with evident eagerness, providing Congress and the public with glossy illustrated reports hyping the Iraqi threat and abandoning all standards of prudence in its characterizations of the alleged Iraqi threat.The Senate Intelligence Committee report also posted here contains a harsh critique of the intelligence community's assessments on Iraq.In addition, the committee pointed out the CIA's troubling decision to heavily redact the NIE including withholding embarrassing topics such as the ways the initial public portions of the estimate sharply misrepresented the intelligence community's views by deleting caveats, hedged language and dissents in the underlying intelligence.Document 7: Donald Rumsfeld, Snowflake, "An Illustrative List of Potential Problems to Be Considered and Addressed," ("Parade of Horribles"), October 15, 2002 Source: The Rumsfeld Papers Donald Rumsfeld wrote this list of setbacks to be anticipated from an Iraq invasion in the midst of the administration's deliberations over whether to attack Iraq.The document is a so-called "snowflake," one of a "blizzard" of short memos - some just a few words in length - that Rumsfeld sent to colleagues and subordinates in the government during his tenure at the Pentagon.In the near future, a significant collection of freshly declassified materials will appear as part of the "Digital National Security Archive" collection through the academic publisher Pro Quest. Central Command, in late 2001 shows the Pentagon already diverting focus and energy from the Afghan campaign less than three months after the U. A full-bore public relations campaign underway at the same time ramped up a climate of anticipation and even fear, with Vice President Cheney telling U. Meanwhile, as one of Secretary Rumsfeld's famous "snowflake" memos from October 2002 shows, top rungs of the administration were well aware of the potential risks of an invasion, yet they chose to go forward without fully considering their implications. The administration had high hopes for Iraq's oil resources, as myriad planning documents show. George Bush, somehow not briefed by his advisors to expect divisions within Iraq, non-conventional warfare, and a nationalism-fueled resistance declared "major combat operations" over on May 1, 2003 – some eight years before his successor finally withdrew the bulk of U. The last documents in this compilation are look-backs at some of the things that went wrong.(In the shorter term, visitors may visit our new Iraq War page for a compilation of currently available declassified materials on the subject.) The first item is a memo from the State Department's Near East bureau, provided to incoming Secretary of State Colin Powell at the very outset of the new George W. (The Iraq Liberation Act signed by Bill Clinton on October 31, 1998, codified this policy and committed the U. to continuing support for Iraqi opposition groups.) A bullet-pointed set of notes discussed by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld with Gen. The documents show that misconceptions about Iraq were useful to the Bush administration as enablers for the decision to invade; they also help account for calamitous U. Among other expectations, the oil sector was to be back in operation within a few months and with its revenues the Iraqi people were expected to pay for their country's own invasion and reconstruction under U. One is an excerpt from the comprehensive Duelfer report on Iraqi WMD provided to the U. director of central intelligence, the other is a "mea culpa" by the CIA for not recognizing that there was no WMD program worthy of the name at the time of the invasion.Bush administration in 2001, outlining the Clinton administration's policy supporting regime change in Iraq, but through financial and weapons support for internal opposition groups, propaganda efforts, and regional actors rather than direct action by the U. These records are in no way a last word on the war, whose ramifications will plague the U. no less than Iraq for decades to come, but they (especially the Duelfer report) do convey attempts to use hard evidence rather than relying heavily on supposition to summarize Iraqi policies in regard to weapons of mass destruction. Central Command, "Desert Crossing Seminar: After Action Report," June 28-30, 1999 Source: Freedom of Information Act In late April 1999, the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), led by Marine General Anthony Zinni (ret.), conducted a series of war games known as Desert Crossing in order to assess potential outcomes of an invasion of Iraq aimed at unseating Saddam Hussein.The Duelfer report attributes grand ambitions to Iraq's leadership as an impetus for the country's weapons policies, but describes a Saddam Hussein motivated largely by survival instincts and by rivalry with near neighbors – not by the aggressive intentions against the U. around which Washington created a justification for preemptive war. Desert Crossing amounted to a feasibility study for part of the main war plan for Iraq – OPLAN 1003-98 – testing "worst case" and "most likely" scenarios of a post-war, post-Saddam, Iraq.S.-protected enclave in northern Iraq, discovery of links between Saddam Hussein and 9/11 or recent anthrax attacks, and disputes over United Nations WMD inspections ("Start now thinking about inspection demands."). A section in the notes on "radical ideas" was withheld from release.They show that Rumsfeld wanted Franks to get ready to initiate military action before a full complement of U. The notes include Feith's point: "Unlike in Afghanistan, important to have ideas in advance about who would rule afterwards." They conclude by calling for an "influence campaign" with a yet-to-be established start time. The document contains the now-notorious statement in which Sir Richard Dearlove, chief of British foreign intelligence ("C"), reports from his talks in Washington: "There was a perceptible change in attitude. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction between terrorism and WMD. inspections were even accepted by all parties concerned. August 15, 2002; Top Secret / Polo Step, Tab K [1003V Full Force - Force Disposition] Source: Freedom of Information Act Military plans for war with Iraq were repeatedly updated at Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's behest throughout 2002 and up to the March 2003 invasion.