NSA Document Dump - Iraq Planning (And Lack Thereof)


State Department experts warned CENTCOM
before Iraq war about lack of plans for
post-war Iraq security

Planning for post-Saddam regime change began
as early as October 2001

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 163

Posted - August 17, 2005

Assuming these are for real, and I have no reason to doubt them yet, this looks to back up the Downing Street Memo contentions.

And here’s some helpful, prechewed, interpretation from the WaPo.

One month before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, three State Department bureau chiefs warned of “serious planning gaps for post-conflict public security and humanitarian assistance” in a secret memorandum prepared for a superior.

The State Department officials, who had been discussing the issues with top military officers at the Central Command, noted that the military was reluctant “to take on ‘policing’ roles” in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The three officials warned that “a failure to address short-term public security and humanitarian assistance concerns could result in serious human rights abuses which would undermine an otherwise successful military campaign, and our reputation internationally.”

The Feb. 7, 2003, memo, addressed to Paula J. Dobriansky, undersecretary for democracy and global affairs, came at a time when the Pentagon was increasingly taking over control of post-invasion planning from the State Department. It reflected the growing tensions between State Department and Pentagon officials and their disparate assessments about the challenges looming in post-invasion Iraq.


Unfortunately the story doesn’t cover the PowerPoint presentation with the reference to an early planning session in State for Iraqi reconstruction in October 2001. That’s a very interesting topic as it would seem to support the conventional wisdom, in the Downing Street Memos, that we were locked into an attack posture almost immediately after 9/11. Some reporting strongly suggests that it was only Tony Blair’s diplomacy that had us attacking Afghanistan at all instead of Iraq against the counsel of Wolfowitz and other Pentagon civilian leadership.