Friday, March 17, 2006

The "Future of Iraq Project"

The coming weekend marks the third anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. Via Juan Cole earlier this week we learned that at long last "The Future of Iraq Project" is on the web, courtesy of the Memory Hole.

The entire 1,200 pages can be accessed here.

For those who weren't paying attention during the run-up to the Iraq war, the "Future of Iraq Project" was launched by the U.S. State Department in April, 2002 -- fully twelve months before the war began.
[T[he State Department project assembled more than 200 Iraqi lawyers, engineers, business people and other experts into 17 working groups to study topics ranging from creating a new justice system to reorganizing the military to revamping the economy.

Their findings included a much more dire assessment of Iraq's dilapidated electrical and water systems than many Pentagon officials assumed. They warned of a society so brutalized by Saddam Hussein's rule that many Iraqis might react coolly to Americans' notion of quickly rebuilding civil society.
As the New York Times later reported, however, "top Pentagon officials" dismantled the team before it could finish, blocked Warrick's appointment to join the first reconstruction team in Baghdad, and trashed the report before it could be finished. In the words of the New Yorker Magazine, whose excellent reporters were among the very first to publicly disclose the Project's demise:
The Pentagon all but ignored the State Department’s postwar plans, compiled by its Future of Iraq project, which warned not only of looting but also of the potential for insurgencies and the folly of relying on exiles such as Ahmad Chalabi... "
Instead, as Jeffrey Goldberg later reported, the White House chose to rely on post-war planning coordinated by Douglas Feith, Undersecretary of Defense. Feith is best known for General Tommy Franks's salty description of him as "the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth."

We know at least two spooks in the Pensacola area who were reading sections of the report as they became available. They simply shook their heads in dismay when they learned the Bush administration had suppressed Warrick's efforts and canceled the project.

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DEWHURST TOULSON said...

They warned of a society so brutalized by Saddam Hussein's rule that many Iraqis might react coolly to Americans' notion of quickly rebuilding civil society.
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