4,143. 10/15/2002

“…with lawmakers persuaded about what would go wrong if America did not attack Iraq, [President] Bush and [Vice President Dick] Cheney were confronted with a roster of what could go wrong if it did. [Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld had scrawled out by hand a list of all the possible setbacks… Marked ‘SECRET’ and dated October 15 [2002], the three-page document became known as the ‘Parade of Horribles’ and cited twenty-nine possible bad outcomes. Number one was that Bush would fail to win UN approval, meaning that ‘potential coalition partners may be unwilling to participate.’ Others included the entry of Israel into the war, a Turkish incursion into Kurdistan, eruption of the Arab street, disruption of oil markets, higher than expected collateral damage, and Iraqi use of weapons of mass destruction against American forces. Number thirteen was ‘US could fail to find WMD on the ground in Iraq and be unpersuasive to the world.’ Number nineteen was ‘Rather than having the post-Saddam effort require 2 to 4 years, it could take 8 to 10 years, thereby absorbing US leadership, military and financial resources.’ And number twenty-seven was ‘Iraq could experience ethnic strife among Sunni, Shia and Kurds.’ Still, Rumsfeld was not opposing war. He concluded his list by noting that ‘it is possible of course to prepare for a similar illustrative list of all the potential problems that need to be considered if there is no regime change in Iraq.’ ”

 – Peter Baker, Days of Fire, Pages 226-227

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