Former President George W. Bush’s administration did not consider alternatives before invading Iraq in 2003, according to a study published by a GW research institute in September.
The National Security Archive, housed in Gelman Library, released a three-part series examining declassified documents about the Iraq War that show invading Iraq was premeditated.
The documents include talking points from meetings with then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Department of Defense memos and briefing papers on security in Iraq.
Talking points from a November 2001 meeting with Rumsfeld and U.S. Central Command Commander, Gen. Tommy Franks, confirm that administration officials and policy makers were looking for a justification for an invasion in Iraq.
“It is interesting to see Rumsfeld was trying to persuade uniformed military officials,” said Joyce Battle, the director of publications for the archive and a Middle East analyst. “It shows the influence of neo-conservatives and their push for a more aggressive policy.”
Battle said the documents starkly contrast previous accounts of the decisions made during the Bush administration.
“There is a lot of interest in this topic,” Battle said. “From verbal narratives and recollections, we think we know about what went on, but we’re finding that’s not the same as what the documents show.”
The compilation of documents acts as a record of military planning efforts and details the creation of a streamlined war plan, Battle said.
Documents from both the British and American governments were analyzed so researchers could produce a fuller picture of the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
“These documents provide a permanent record of what actually went on,” Battle said.
The analysis, as well as PDF files of the dozens of declassified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act request – which allows citizens to obtain government documents – are available on the archive’s website.
Battle said she hopes the analysis allows the public to take a critical look at the policies of the Bush administration.
“I want them to understand, as I think they already do, that the Bush administration wanted to focus on Iraq,” she said. “The administration wanted to invade Iraq for its own reasons, not because of 9/11.”