The Iraq War parallel
George Tenet, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, wrote in his book At the Center of the Storm that in September 2002 CIA analysts presented the Bush administration with an analytic paper titled "The Perfect Storm: Planning for Negative Consequences of Invading Iraq." The paper included "worst-case scenarios" of what could go wrong as a result of a US-led invasion of Iraq.
The paper, according to Tenet, outlined several negative consequences:
. anarchy and the territorial breakup of Iraq;
. regime-threatening instability in key Arab states;
. deepening Islamic antipathy toward the United States that produced a surge of global terrorism against US interests.
The Perfect Storm paper suggested several steps that the United States could take that might mitigate the impact of these potentially negative consequences. These included a serious attempt at solving some of the key regional conflicts and domestic economic and political issues that have plagued the region for decades.
Unfortunately, the Bush administration spent more time worrying about defeating Saddam's army than focusing on what could follow Saddam's demise. Ignoring the Perfect Storm paper, as the past decade has shown, was detrimental to US interests, the security of the region, and the stability of some key Arab allies. The US and the region now have to deal with these consequences - anarchy, destruction, and refugees - of the Bush administration's refusal to act on those warnings.
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