Before the invasion of Iraq, Gen. Tommy Franks gathered with his top advisers to review their plans. The recently released slides from that meeting offer an insight into the startling optimism of the men who designed the war. Four years post-invasion, the commanders expected Iraq to have a fully representative government, a functioning army and as few as 5,000 U.S. troops. Whoops!
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 planning slides obtained by the National Security Archive under the Freedom of Information Act outline the command’s video projection of the stable, pro-American and democratic Iraq that was to be.
The general optimism and some details of General Franks’ planning session have been disclosed in the copious postwar literature. But the once classified slides 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.