The plan was drafted in 1997, and the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) sent a letter to then-President Clinton in 1998 urging him to take action to oust Iraq's Saddam Hussein. The group also suggests the democratization of Syria and Iran.
Among the 40 neo-conservatives in the think tank were 10 present members of the Bush Administration -- including Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
President Clinton did bomb Baghdad in 1998, but Saddam remained in power. Then came the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the group appealed to a new president.
William Kristol of PNAC said at that time: "One consequence that the President should draw from 9-11 is that it was unacceptable to sit back and let either terrorist groups or dictators developing weapons of mass destruction strike at us first."
Suddenly, the neo-conservative battle plan became U.S. policy. Professor Daniel Chirot of the Jackson School of International Affairs at the University of Washington told KOMO 4 News: "These are the people who have decisively influenced what we are now doing and what we are planning to do."
Now that Baghdad is under fire, Kristol says, "of course we feel some sense of responsibility."
Some see a Northwest connection to the PNAC planners. Roger Morris, a former senior staffer at the National Security Council, told KOMO 4 News: "Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and the people who have been their disciples over the past few years all trace back to Henry Scoop Jackson."
For 30 years, Jackson was a Democratic powerhouse in the U.S. Senate from Washington. Morris added: "This foreign policy which you are seeing being enacted by George W. Bush is very largely, in my view, the policy of Scoop Jackson. This was made in Snohomish County, in Everett."
PNAC has suggested that the next step after Iraq should be the democratization of Iran and Syria.
Chirot's reaction: "If it works, we'll all be the better off for it. If it doesn't, it could be an enormous catastrophe."
Morris worries: "It's already splintered, if not ruined, our oldest and most treasured alliance in NATO and certainly has ruined our relationship with the United Nations."
Both men expect the U.S. to win quickly in Iraq. But, they warn, that may be just the beginning.