Insomnia (insomnia) wrote,

Franks talks on Iraq.

General Tommy Franks, commanding general in charge of the invasion of Iraq, is releasing his memoirs shortly, but despite his support for the goals of the war, he has some things to say that won't help either Rumsfeld or the Bush administration much. He's given numerous interviews lately for his book, which I have compiled for this post.

One of the key points of Franks' memoirs is his struggle to run the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with Rumsfeld breathing down his neck. At one point, Franks threatened to quit.

"Since the start of Operation Enduring Freedom, we'd become accustomed to the demands of Secretary Rumsfeld. But now even my industrious planners found that the daily barrage of tasks and questions was beginning to border on harassment."

Franks noted the failure of Mr. Rumsfeld and Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, to ease the chronic tensions between their two departments. "On far too many occasions the bureaucracy fought like cats in the sack."

"I wish Don Rumsfeld had had an easier, less-centralised management style ... I, and I suspect a lot of other people, would have had a whole lot better feeling undertaking these very important matters if Don Rumsfeld had been a very concerned people-person."

Franks also is unsparing in his criticism of Pentagon officials such as Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, whom he derides as the "dumbest . . . guy on the planet."

Franks also makes it clear that he expected the president to round up a great deal more international support that he did, and that when it came to forming a coalition, the Bush administration didn't deliver.

According to Franks, Bush's infamous "Mission Accomplished" photo op was intentionally designed to signify the end of hostilities -- a statement which directly contradicts what Bush told reporters. The Bush administration apparently believed that having announced victory, other nations would line up behind them to assist in the occupation and reconstruction of Iraq. Somehow, they were blind to the degree of ill-will they aroused amongst our former allies through their unilateral actions.

"That was not so everyone could have a victory lap. We'd been given to believe that once major hostilities were over, we would have lots and lots more help from the international community."

Gen. Franks also mentions that before the war, Gen. Jay Garner, the man appointed as the first, short-term director of reconstruction efforts in Iraq, had had to spend weeks "walking the corridors of Washington, hat in hand. He needed people and money."

Within his own command, Franks writes, "we had neither the money nor a comprehensive set of policy decisions that would provide for every aspect of reconstruction, civic action and governance."

Most damningly, however, Franks warned Rumsfield that a quick victory could lead to a "catastrophic success", with the United States left unprepared for postwar anarchy in Iraq.

"We will have to stand up a new Iraqi army and create a constabulary that includes a representative tribal, religious and ethnic mix. It will take time."

President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld agreed, but Franks was denied the funding he needed to put Saddam's soldiers on the new Iraqi government's payroll.

"If what we're after is to get reconstruction going, then that simply represents 250,000 angry young men .... We would have been wise to (call the Iraqi army back to duty), and in my view we should have done that."

"Penny wise will surely be pound foolish, I thought. We will spend dollars today . . . or blood tomorrow."

Gen. Franks said he now expects U.S. forces to remain in Iraq for up to five years.

Meanwhile, officials in Egypt and Jordan on Monday denied an account in Gen. Franks' book that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah had told him Iraq had chemical and biological weapons.

Asked about this year's election, Gen. Franks respects President Bush, but prefers to stay on the sidelines.

"I have no interest in politics. The way I'm going to mark my individual ballot I'll keep to myself."

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