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Conversations between U.S. highly ranked officials revealed the intentions of the United States foreign policy in the Middle East and its outcomes.
As President George W. Bush pushed the case for war in Iraq in the summer of 2002, highly ranked State Department officials warned that an invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein could produce internal Iraqi chaos and violent, Middle Eastern unrest, according to formerly classified documents released this week, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.
"An effort to overthrow the regime in Baghdad could unravel if we’re not careful, intersecting to create a ’perfect storm’ for American interests," three former diplomats wrote on July 29, 2002, to Secretary of State Colin Powell — a message that went unheard when the Bush administration invaded without detailed plans for post-war Iraq, the WSJ reported.
This and more than 80 other once-classified documents about U.S. policy toward the Middle East, Russia, and other regions were released in conjunction with the publication of “The Back Channel,” a memoir by former Deputy Secretary of State William Burns.
The WSJ noted the 10-page memo predicted many setbacks that actually occurred: violence among Iraq’s Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds; attacks on U.S. troops; intervention by Iran and other neighbors.
"This view would require planning to stay five years — maybe four if we’re lucky, ten if we’re not," says the document, written by Burns, who then led the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, and colleagues David Pearce and Ryan Crocker.
In exchanges between officials, from August 2002, it was obvious to U.S. diplomats that the decision to invade Iraq was a mistake. "This is not about whether the goal of regime change makes sense; it’s about choosing between a smart way and a dumb way of bringing it about," Burns wrote in an Aug. 16, 2002, email to Powell.
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