||This paper explores how neoconservative ideology informed the Bush Administration’s
interpretation/use of intelligence, leading to the decision to invade Iraq. The Administration
based its decision to invade Iraq upon four neoconservative assumptions. The first
assumption was that Saddam Hussein’s regime was on the verge of acquiring nuclear
weapons and had already amassed stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. The
second assumption was that the regime had meaningful links with Al Qaeda and had something
to do with 9/11. The third assumption was that, within Iraq, the regime’s fall would
be followed by rapid and peaceful democratization. The fourth assumption was that
a similar democratic transformation would be precipitated elsewhere in the region.
This paper examines primary source documents authored by key members of the Bush Administration
(President Bush, VP Cheney, Secretary Powell and Secretary Rice). These accounts
are compared to other relevant primary source documents such as the “9/11 Commission
Report” and the “National Intelligence Estimate.” In addition, the preexisting 9/11
ideology held by top officials in the Bush Administration that shaped the decision
to invade Iraq is examined.