The CIA and State Department analysts were far, far less sanguine about what might happen as a result of the invasion than Rumsfeld, Cheney, and the other hawks. According to Paul Pillar, the top CIA coordinator for intelligence on Iraq from 2001 to 2005, the professional intelligence community presented a picture of a political culture in Iraq that would not provide fertile ground for democracy and foretold a long, difficult, turbulent transition.
It projected that a Marshall Plan-type effort would be required to restore the Iraqi economy, despite Iraq’s abundant oil resources.
It forecast that in a deeply divided Iraqi society, with Sunnis resentful over their loss of their dominant position and Shiites seeking power commensurate with their majority status, there was a significant chance that the groups would engage in violent conflict unless and occupying power prevented it.
And it anticipated that a foreign occupying force would itself be the target of resentment and attacks—including by guerrilla warfare—unless it established security and put Iraq on the road to prosperity in the first few weeks or months after the fall of Saddam… War and occupation would boost political Islam and increase sympathy for terrorists’ objectives—and Iraq would become a magnet for extremists from elsewhere in the Middle East.