...the 40-page Senate report reveals that two intelligence assessments before the war accurately predicted that toppling Saddam could lead to a dangerous period of internal violence and provide a boost to terrorists. But those warnings were seemingly ignored.So not only did they lie to get Congress to approve something they used as justification for the preemptive invasion of Iraq, they knew IN ADVANCE that it would not be the kind of fast in-and-out attack that Panama was. They knew they were going into a nasty, long-term occupation of an Arabic nation in the center of the Middle East.
In January 2003, two months before the invasion, the intelligence community's think tank — the National Intelligence Council — issued an assessment warning that after Saddam was toppled, there was “a significant chance that domestic groups would engage in violent conflict with each other and that rogue Saddam loyalists would wage guerrilla warfare either by themselves or in alliance with terrorists.”
It also warned that “many angry young recruits” would fuel the rank of Islamic extremists and "Iraqi political culture is so embued with mores (opposed) to the democratic experience … that it may resist the most rigorous and prolonged democratic tutorials." [From NBC News.]
So what did they REALLY think they were going to get from an attack on Iraq that was worth the cost that they knew - IN ADVANCE - America was going to have to pay? What possible payoff could have been worth the anticipated cost?
Unless Bush, Cheney and their advisers do not consider government to be real money, and they have no empathy at all for the people who are dying and being wounded to carry out the orders given from the White House. If that is the case, then Bush and Cheney do not see any cost at all. But that would be insane.
Then they have had the nerve - the chutzpa - to blame it on bad Intelligence from the CIA and the Intelligence Community. Those guys warned what was going to happen, and it did.
This report appears to be the one that Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), then Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, promised would be released in Spring of 2005 after he held off presenting it before the 2004 Presidential Election. The Senate Report of Pre-war Intelligence on Iraq was released July 9, 2004 and focused on the failures of prewar Intelligence. It appears to me that this should have been part of that. But the Republicans promised that Phase II of the report "soon." Sen. Roberts stated about the second half of the report at the time the first part of the report was released that "It is a priority. I made my commitment and it will get done." Then when it had not been released by March 31, 2005 he said "I don’t think there should be any doubt that we have now heard it all regarding prewar intelligence. I think that it would be a monumental waste of time to replow this ground any further."
Now we can see what the Republican Party was hiding. This was the Congressional leadership as well as those in the White House.
It is clear that Pat Roberts was afraid of losing the 2004 Presidential election over the war in Iraq, but let's go back to the real question. What in Hell did Bush and company think they would gain by invading Iraq? They knew there were no WMDs. They knew Saddam was a nasty dictator, but his removal wasn't worth the financial cost or the American lives lost. It was a stretch to think that Saddam was really threatening anyone, especially America. "Installing a democracy" is something any government expert would laugh at. It can't be done by invasion. The cost of the invasion and the occupation was clearly going to be a great deal more than could be recovered even if America owned all the Iraqi oil. Is there anything else?
Why did Bush and company really think the invasion of Iraq could possibly be worth it?
The answer to the above question may lead to Cheney rather than to Bush. Steve Clemons reports that Dick Cheney really, really wants war with Iran now, and that Cheney and his subordinates are currently trying to sabotage Bush's efforts to use diplomacy to reach an accommodation with Iran. Joe Klein reports that he has confirmation of Steve's story from several sources. This resembles the ways that John Bolton was sabotaging Sec. of State Colin Powell when Powell attempted diplomatic solutions to American problems that would replace the military options. Bolton is, of course, one of Cheney's subordinates.
All of this tends to confirm the stories that it is Cheney calling the shots for the White House in military and foreign policy matters. It also sounds a lot like Cheney is literally bat-shit crazy.
The answer may be that America entered the Iraq War because of Dick Cheney's fevered fantasies, and Bush did not have enough good sense to realize that what Cheney was doing was literally insane.