When war planning goes (seriously) awry. The New York Times:

When Gen. Tommy R. Franks and his top officers gathered in August 2002 to review an invasion plan for Iraq, it reflected a decidedly upbeat vision of what the country would look like four years after Saddam Hussein was ousted from power.

A broadly representative Iraqi government would be in place. The Iraqi Army would be working to keep the peace. And the United States would have as few as 5,000 troops in the country.

Military slides obtained by the National Security Archive under the Freedom of Information Act outline the command’s PowerPoint projection of the stable, pro-American and democratic Iraq that was to be.

The general optimism and some details of General Franks’s planning session have been disclosed in the copious postwar literature. But the slides from the once classified briefing provide a firsthand look at how far the violent reality of Iraq today has deviated from assumptions that once laid the basis for an exercise in pre-emptive war.

More details and the full context of this are available at the National Security Archive’s website.

Right now the U.S. is in an often-angry debate over the war. History will eventually reach many verdicts — too early now since the war is not over and the war’s impact on Iraq’s final post-Sadaam evolution is not totally clear. But it’s now evident that assumptions underlying some of the planning was incredibly poor due to either faulty assumptions from the get-go or some people not doing their homework….or a combination of both.

JOE GANDELMAN, Editor-In-Chief
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Copyright 2007 The Moderate Voice
  • In this case, using the word planning is a misnomer.

    The PowerPoint slides merely add more flesh to what has been reported in detial in “Cobra II,” “Fiasco” and other in-depth accounts of the run-up to the war.

    Franks was a Rumsfeld sycophant and shouted down the Pentagon’s best planners when they strenuously objected to the rosy scenarios that he wanted to send up the line from CENTCOM to the Pentagon and on to the White House. The “optimism” the top brass expressed was as empty as the pre-war “intelligence” was inaccurate.

    Franks’ role in the grand charade has been overshadowed by Rumsfeld’s, but his betrayal of the principles of sound military planning was obscene and men and women died for his sins.

  • Sam

    Its good to have documentation that the Bush administration people really, really didn’t know what they were getting into. I mean, its one thing to deduce it from current events, but its another to have the pie in the sky drawings they used during the planning phase. This is what happens when its amateur hour at the Defense Dept.

  • egrubs

    Quote from Men in Black:

    Zed (smiling): “Gentlemen, congratulations. You’re everything we’ve come to expect from years of government training.”