WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. intelligence agencies warned the Bush administration before the Iraq war that al Qaeda and Iran could exploit a U.S. invasion to extend their sway in the region, a new Senate report said on Friday.Candy and flowers, indeed.
Congressional Democrats seized on the report by the Senate Intelligence Committee as clear evidence President George W. Bush, a Republican, and his advisers ignored warnings about the chaos that could follow a U.S. invasion of Iraq.
"Today's report shows that the intelligence community gave the administration plenty of warning about the difficulties we would face if the decision was made to go to war," said Sen. John Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat and the committee's chairman.
The paper, filed with the Senate in January, 2003, three months before the invasion began, point out that Al Qaeda would try to duplicate the tactics that had worked so well in Afghanistan barely two decades earlier: hit-and-run attacks on occupying troops that would eat up manpower and materiel with minimal exposure to the insurgents.
And we had to know those tactics. After all, we funded and provided the weaponry for them.
Iran's involvement becomes even more obvious: Al Qaeda wasn't about to go to Russia or China for support, and North Korea was too tied up and too poor to provide much more than logistics. This leaves Iran as the only possible backer of terrorist attacks in the region.
The papers, which the report said were circulated widely in the Bush administration, also warned there was a "significant chance that domestic groups (in Iraq) would engage in violent conflict with each other."Pretty prescient, even if the conclusion it makes on this point is a rather obvious one: when a minority holds a nation in thrall, and is violently removed, the majority will have revenge on its mind.
Closing the barn door now that the horse is out, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had this to say, "President Bush wanted to go to war in Iraq in the worst possible way, and he did."
I couldn't have buttoned this essay any better.