More from Tommy Franks

Following up on an earlier post, former CentCom commander General Tommy Franks provides some interesting information while plugging his just-released memoir, American Soldier. One interesting bit from this Nightline interview is that it wasn't only western intelligence agencies who were fooled on the WMD question:

KOPPEL: Let's go back — actually, we haven't gone to it at all yet, but let's just quickly go to the subject of weapons of mass destruction. You write in your book that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak told you Saddam has weapons of mass destruction. You write that … FRANKS: Actually, biologicals, right. KOPPEL: Biologicals. You write that King Abdullah of Jordan told you the, Saddam has and will use weapons of mass destruction. FRANKS: That his intelligence services had given that to him too. KOPPEL: Yeah. FRANKS: Yes, that's correct. KOPPEL: Both governments today — you know, kings don't answer to books, as you know, and either do presidents, but your book has apparently made its way around to both those capitals, and both the office of King Abdullah and the office of President Mubarak deny that, say they never told you that. FRANKS: Uh-huh. Not, not, not surprising, Ted. I think one sort of has to be aware of the way, the way politics works in the Middle East, and so I'm not at all surprised by that. I'll simply stay with what I said.

Michael Kilian's Chicago Tribune story also provides a lot of ammunition for the Kerry campaign:

According to the general in command, the U.S. went to war in Iraq without expectation of the violent insurgency that followed or a clear understanding of the psychology of the Iraqi people. "We had a hope the Iraqis would rise up and become part of the solution," said former Gen. Tommy Franks, who led the U.S. military's Central Command until his retirement last August. "We just didn't know [about the insurgency]." ....As he noted in his book, Franks had projected that troop strength in Iraq might have to rise to 250,000 for the U.S. to meet all of its objectives, but the number never got higher than 150,000. "The wild card in this was the expectation for much greater international involvement," he said in the interview. "I never cared whether the international community came by way of NATO or the United Nations or directly. "We started the operation believing that nations would provide us with an awful lot of support," Franks said. Instead, the other members participating in the coalition have contributed only about 22,000 soldiers in Iraq, and several nations, such as the Philippines, have pulled out their forces recently. Franks said he thinks the U.S. will have to maintain substantial numbers of troops in Iraq for three to five years. Initial planning for the war centered on achieving a speedy victory in the major combat phases followed by rapid reconstruction of the country, Franks said. Though an insurgency was feared, there was no assumption it would happen, he said. "I think there was not a full appreciation of the realities in Iraq--at least of the psychology of the Iraqis," Franks said. "On the one hand," he continued, "I think we all believed that they hated the regime of Saddam Hussein. Over the last year, we have seen that come to pass. That's where the intelligence came from that allowed us to get the sons of Saddam Hussein." Udai and Qusai Hussein were killed in a firefight with U.S. troops in July 2003. "On the other hand, the psychology of the people--the mix of the Sunnis, the Shiites, the tribal elements and the Kurds--and what they would expect and tolerate in terms of coalition forces, their numbers, where they are and what they're doing in Iraq, I don't know that we made willful assumptions with respect to that," the retired general added.

UPDATE: The Tribune story also makes it clear in the book that Franks has no love for either Douglas Feith or Richard Clarke:

In his book, Franks referred to Douglas Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy and one of Rumsfeld's close advisers, as "a theorist whose ideas were often impractical." "I generally ignored his contributions," Franks wrote of one meeting. He was critical of former White House counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke, saying in the book he "was better at identifying a problem than at finding a workable solution."


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