More Info on CIA Warnings to Bush on Iraq

The Los Angeles Times has more information on the CIA documents released yesterday showing that Bush was warned about the consequences of invading Iraq:

These papers warned that:

•  Establishing “an Iraqi democracy would be a long, difficult and probably turbulent process, with potential for backsliding into Iraq’s tradition of authoritarianism.”

•  Unless the occupying forces prevented it, “score settling would occur throughout Iraq between those associated with Saddam’s regime and those who have suffered most under it.”

•  Among the majority Shiite population, which Saddam had kept out of power, a political form of Islam could take root, “particularly if economic recovery were slow and foreign troops remained in the country for a long period.”

•  Iran would probably try to shape the post-Hussein Iraq, in a bid to position itself as a regional power.

•  Al Qaeda would probably take advantage of the war to increase its terrorist activities, and the lines between it and other terrorist groups “could become blurred.”

Each of these assessments was prescient. And Bush now cites the danger posed by Al Qaeda forces in Iraq as a major reason for resisting calls that the U.S. begin decreasing its troop levels and set a firm deadline for withdrawal.

In early 2003, even as their deputies were receiving the intelligence community papers, top administration officials — among them Vice President Dick Cheney and then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld — publicly speculated that U.S. troops would be greeted warmly as liberators and gave no hint that some analysts were raising red flags about difficulties to come.

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