Donald Rumsfeld and Planning for the Iraq War:
Today's issue of The Daily Press, a local paper in Hampton Roads, Virginia, has a fascinating and very troubling interview with Brigadier General Mark Scheid, commander of the Army Transportation Corps who was one of the early planners for the war in Iraq. Scheid is retiring from military service in a few weeks, and he spoke to the local paper in Virginia about Donald Rumsfeld's instructions for drafting plans for the invasion of Iraq. Here's an excerpt, with the most newsworthy part in bold:
A day or two [after 9/11], Rumsfeld was "telling us we were going to war in Afghanistan and to start building the war plan. We were going to go fast.Thanks to Bob Turner for the link.
Then, just as we were barely into Afghanistan ... Rumsfeld came and told us to get ready for Iraq." . . .
Planning was kept very hush-hush in those early days.
"There was only a handful of people, maybe five or six, that were involved with that plan because it had to be kept very, very quiet."
There was already an offensive plan in place for Iraq, Scheid said. And in the beginning, the planners were just expanding on it.
"Whether we were going to execute it, we had no idea," Scheid said.
Eventually other military agencies - like the transportation and Army materiel commands - had to get involved.
They couldn't just "keep planning this in the dark," Scheid said.
Planning continued to be a challenge.
"The secretary of defense continued to push on us ... that everything we write in our plan has to be the idea that we are going to go in, we're going to take out the regime, and then we're going to leave," Scheid said. "We won't stay."
Scheid said the planners continued to try "to write what was called Phase 4," or the piece of the plan that included post-invasion operations like occupation.
Even if the troops didn't stay, "at least we have to plan for it," Scheid said.
"I remember the secretary of defense saying that he would fire the next person that said that," Scheid said. "We would not do planning for Phase 4 operations, which would require all those additional troops that people talk about today.
"He said we will not do that because the American public will not back us if they think we are going over there for a long war."
Why did Rumsfeld think that? Scheid doesn't know.