[Washington, DC : United States Dept. of State : George Washington University, National Security Archive, 2006]
Book — 13 v.
The National Security Archive is today posting State Department documents from 2002 tracing the inception of the "Future of Iraq Project," alongside the final, mammoth 13-volume study, previously obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. "The Future of Iraq Project" was one of the most comprehensive U.S. government planning efforts for raising that country out of the ashes of combat and establishing a functioning democracy. The new materials complement previous postings on the Archive's site relating to the United States' complex relationship with Iraq during the years leading up to the 2003 invasion.
Less than one month after the September 11 attacks, the State Department in October 2001 began planning the post-Saddam Hussein transition in Iraq. Under the direction of former State official Thomas S. Warrick, the Department organized over 200 Iraqi engineers, lawyers, businesspeople, doctors and other experts into 17 working groups to strategize on topics including the following: public health and humanitarian needs, transparency and anti-corruption, oil and energy, defense policy and institutions, transitional justice, democratic principles and procedures, local government, civil society capacity building, education, free media, water, agriculture and environment and economy and infrastructure.
Thirty-three total meetings were held primarily in Washington from July 2002 through early April 2003. As part of the internal bureaucratic battle for control over Iraq policy within the Bush administration, the Department of Defense's Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA), itself replaced by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in May 2003, would ultimately assume responsibility for post-war planning in accordance with National Security Presidential Directive 24 signed on January 20, 2003. According to some press accounts, the Defense Department largely ignored the report, although DOD officials deny that.
The result of the project was a 1,200-page 13-volume report that contains a multitude of facts, strategies, predictions and warnings about a diverse range of complex and potentially explosive issues, some of which have since developed as the report's authors anticipated, and have contributed to miring the U.S.-led nation-building experiment in disaster. The study's existence has been known, and versions have leaked to the press in the past. (Note 1) The report was marked "For Official Use Only," a category reserved for information that is deemed "sensitive but unclassified," which means that it is not covered by any statute or regulation but can still be withheld if government officials decide its disclosure could "adversely impact" certain private or national interests.