A.A. Bondy
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For What I Don't Become

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Saddest Ghost Lamp

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

This Page Has Purposely Been Left Blank

The National Security Archive has posted some newly declassified State Department documents that offer a chilling new look at a seeming paradox: Serious planning for the invasion of Iraq began in October of 2001, and yet the whole escapade was monumentally unplanned.

Take, for instance, this "Future of Iraq Project" State Department briefing (pdf), dated November 1, 2002, which reads like one of those reports written by the loser you always picked to be "secretary" when the teacher made you break up into groups in high school (if you happen to have been one of those losers, well, what can I say?). It lists the bullet-pointed accomplishments of various Working Groups--Democratic Principles, Civil Society Capacity-Building, *cough* Oil & Energy, etc.--with brilliant observations like, "Develop plans for job creation," and "Plan for how to establish culture of respect for human rights and the rule of law." Hey, great ideas, guys. Way to think ahead. It's War by Powerpoint Presentation.

But the beautiful thing is what remains classified. Some of the pages toward the end are redacted. Like these:

Of course, it's entirely possible that the originals were blank to begin with.