Having no plan for the post war period was Donald Rumsfeld’s plan. And our secretary of defense threatened to can anyone who dared draw up contingencies for nation building.
Via Kevin Drum, you have got to read this extraordinary interview with the outgoing commander of the Army Transportation Corps, Brig. Gen. Mark Scheid:
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….
“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.”