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 slides obtained by the National Security Archive under the Freedom of Information Act outline the command’s PowerPoint projection of the stable, pro-American and democratic Iraq that was to be.
The general optimism and some details of General Franks’s planning session have been disclosed in the copious postwar literature. But the slides from the once classified briefing 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.
I don’t really have much to say on this. Michael Gordon who wrote this article for the Times, covered much of this in his book, Cobra II. We knew the slides were misleading. We just didn’t know how misleading.