Saturday, September 09, 2006

Rumsfeld threatened to fire anyone talking about the need for post-war planning in Iraq

The professionals at the Pentagon tried to do their job, i.e. plan for the post-war situation in Iraq. However, Brig. General Mark Scheid says Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld not only resisted the planning but threatened to fire the next person talking about it. The plan apparently was to topple Saddam Hussein, declare victory and then abandon the country without any sense of responsibility for rebuilding. Hussein was toppled and Bush declared victory. However, withdrawing was not as easy as the wishful thinking assumed it would be although there still seems little or no sense of responsibility by this administration for rebuilding Iraq.

This from the Newport News, Virginia Daily Press:

Months before the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld forbade military strategists from developing plans for securing
a post-war Iraq, the retiring commander of the Army Transportation Corps said
Thursday.


In fact, said Brig. Gen. Mark Scheid, Rumsfeld said "he would fire the
next person" who talked about the need for a post-war plan.


Rumsfeld did replace Gen. Eric Shinseki, the Army chief of staff in
2003, after Shinseki told Congress that hundreds of thousands of troops would be
needed to secure post-war Iraq.


Scheid, who is also the commander of Fort Eustis in Newport News, made
his comments in an interview with the Daily Press. He retires in about three
weeks.


***

In 2001, Scheid was a colonel with the Central
Command, the unit that oversees U.S. military operations in the
Mideast.


On Sept. 10, 2001, he was selected to be the chief of logistics war
plans.


On Sept. 11, 2001, he said, "life just went to hell."That day, Gen.
Tommy Franks, the commander of Central Command, told his planners, including
Scheid, to "get ready to go to war."


A day or two later, Rumsfeld was "telling us we were going to war in
Afghanistan and to start building the war plan. We were going to go
fast."


Then, just as we were barely into Afghanistan ... Rumsfeld came and
told us to get ready for Iraq."


Scheid said he remembers everyone thinking, "My gosh, we're in the
middle of Afghanistan, how can we possibly be doing two at one time? How can we
pull this off? It's just going to be too much."


****

"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."


***

"In his own mind he thought we could go in and fight and take out the
regime and come out. But a lot of us planners were having a real hard time with
it because we were also thinking we can't do this. Once you tear up a country
you have to stay and rebuild it. It was very challenging."


Even if the people who laid out the initial war plans had fleshed out
post-invasion missions, the fighting and insurgent attacks going on today would
have been hard to predict, Scheid said."We really thought that after the
collapse of the regime we were going to do all these humanitarian type things,"
he said.


"We thought this would go pretty fast and we'd be able to get out of
there. We really didn't anticipate them to continue to fight the way they did or
come back the way they are."


Now we're going more toward a civil war. We didn't see that
coming."

If this were the private sector Rumsfeld would have been fired a long time ago for his dismal performance.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Interesting if indeed it is true. How does one test the veracity of these comments?