Sunday, August 21, 2005

Prepping the Battlefield:The military started to prepare for Iraq War only months after 9/11

In the weeks and months immediately following Sept 11, the attention of the nation and the world turned to Afghanistan and its Islamic Fundamentalist leadership. Osama bin Laden and his followers, pariahs in the civilized world, overnight became the topic of conversation from the corridors of power in Washington to dinner tables in small-town America. On an almost daily basis the nation’s top military and political leaders updated an anxious nation on the progress being made in the hunt for bin Laden and his followers. But deep in the bowels of the Pentagon, in situation rooms far from the glare of the media, another war was being planned. Deployments were being analyzed, scenarios discussed, and equipment moved, not for any action in the mountains of Tora Bora , but rather for an assault on an old nemesis in Baghdad.

According to senior administration officials six days after the attacks on the World Trade Center, President Bush signed a ½-page document marked "TOP SECRET" that outlined the plan for going to war in Afghanistan as part of a global campaign against terrorism. Almost as a footnote to the document was a directive to the Pentagon to begin planning military options for an invasion of Iraq. With that directive, the journey on the path to war with Iraq officially began.

In the ensuing months as top military leaders went about the daily business of directing the war in Afghanistan, they spent unseen hours going over maps, studying troop deployments, and moving pre-positioned stocks of military equipment into the theater of operation. The amount of men and equipment needed for an offensive against Baghdad was great, and the logistics of getting everything in place would be a daunting task for the military planners. Although much of the preliminary logistical work could be done under the cover of fighting the Taliban, until the Administration could convince the world that regime change was the next logical step in fighting global terror, moving the full might of the US military into position was a task that needed to be done gingerly.

In late November, 2001 the pressure on the pentagon to come up with war plans for Iraq was mounting. According to Bob Woodward, “… there's this low boil on Iraq until the day before Thanksgiving, Nov. 21, 2001. This is 72 days after 9/11. This is part of this secret history. President Bush, after a National Security Council meeting, takes Don Rumsfeld aside, collars him physically, and takes him into a little cubbyhole room and closes the door and says, ‘What have you got in terms of plans for Iraq? What is the status of the war plan? I want you to get on it. I want you to keep it secret.’" Six days after the president's request on the Iraq war plan, Rumsfeld flew to see General Franks at CENTCOM headquarters in Tampa.

"Pull the Iraq planning out and let's see where we are," Rumsfeld told Franks when they were alone….

"Let's put together a group that can just think outside the box completely," Rumsfeld ordered. "Certainly we have traditional military planning, but let's take away the constraints a little bit and think about what might be a way to solve this problem." (Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack, p.36-37)


After the meeting, Rumsfeld and Franks appeared before the news media to brief on the ongoing Afghanistan war.

The next week Franks was ready to present the first draft of the Iraq war plan to Rumsfeld. The Defense Secretary was not altogether pleased with what he saw. "Well, General, you have a lot of work ahead of you," he said, stacking the pages. "Today is Tuesday. Let's get together again next Wednesday, December 12. I want to hear more details at that time."(Tommy Franks, American Soldier, p. 335)

Around this time, the initial movement of men and supplies into the region began. On Dec. 11, it was reported that the Pentagon had moved the headquarters of its 3rd Army from Fort MacPherson, Georgia to Kuwait, apparently in preparation for expanding the war on terrorism. About the move, Colonel Dan Smith, of the Center for Defense Information, a Washington think-tank, said: "This is very significant, particularly in respect to the enlargement of the war against terrorism. It is a clear sign that the [Bush] administration is thinking ahead to what it will do when it has finished in Afgahanistan.

According to Franks, he and Rumsfeld met again as scheduled on the 12th:

"General Franks," Rumsfeld asked when I'd completed the briefing, "what's next?"

Aware that we might move from the conceptual to the practical at any time, I chose my words carefully. "Mr. Secretary," I said, "we want to begin now to improve our force posture in the region."

"How visible will these activities be?" Rumsfeld asked.

"Mr. Secretary, the troop increases in Kuwait will be seen as training excercises, and we can time the carrier cruises to draw minimum attention. I don't envision any CNN moments, but there is no guarantee."

Intel had reported that Saddam and his military advisers accepted what they saw on CNN as holy writ, assuming that the cable channel would report all critical developments. To the Iraqis, the open Western media may have been less politically useful than the Arab press and the al-Jazeera network - but it was more reliable.

"I'm thinking in terms of spikes, Mr. Secretary - spurts of activity followed by periods of inactivity. We want the Iraqis to become accustomed to military expansion, and then apparent contraction." (Tommy Franks, American Soldier, p. 341,342)


That same day Kuwait’s defense minister, Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al Sabah reassured the Kuwaiti people that the U.S. decision to transfer the headquarters of its armed forces' central command to Kuwait was temporary, and was not linked to Iraq. It was only intended to allow the Americans to command and control their forces in Afghanistan. "This command is here only for follow-up and control and no additional U.S. forces have been sent to Kuwait," he told the Saudi-owned Arab language daily Al Hayat. "It is in line with the defense accord signed between Kuwait and the U.S. in 1992...as you know, the U.S. operations in Afghanistan are conducted mostly from air."

On December 28, 2001 Tommy Franks was summoned to fly down to the Presidents Crawford ranch to give him his first briefing on the newest plans for the Iraq war. After their meeting, reporters were once again told that the two had met to discuss Afghanistan.

In the months that followed, the movement of men and machines into the region increased. In February, the New York Times reported that the “top Marine general for Central Asia and the Persian Gulf (was) moving his headquarters to Bahrain from Hawaii, joining Army, Navy and Air Force counterparts who (had) already uprooted from peacetime postings in the United States to set up battle stations in the region…”

By march military planners were already working on a new phase of the operation when they moved the Fifth Special Forces Group out of Afghanistan, where they were searching for bin Laden, into Iraq in order to direct Kurdish Rebels in northern part of the country. This move was significant as the “Fifth Group Special Forces were a rare breed in the US military: they spoke Arabic, Pastun and Dari. They had been in Afghanistan for half a year, had developed a network of local sources and alliances, and believed that they were closing in on bin bin Laden. Along with the redeployment of human assets came a reallocation of sophisticated hardware. The US air force redeployed the only two specially equipped RC135 U spy planes in the region. The planes had been used to successfully vectored in on al-Qaida leadership radio transmissions and cellphone calls, but they would no longer circle over the mountains of the Pakistan/Afghanistan border. They were moved to fly missions over Iraq. By the end of the month upwards of 1800 US troops were reported to operating the borders of Iraq, most of them Special Forces.

At a March 29, 2002 press briefing at the pentagon General Franks was asked about the obvious increase of forces in the region:

Q: Are you now pre-positioning men or weapons or material in anticipation of a possible military action against Iraq?

Franks: No.

Q: You're not?

Franks: We have not -- we have not positioned assets in my region in anticipation of an action any place, with the exception of what we have talked about in Yemen, in terms of providing support to President Ali Abdullah Saleh in his efforts to reduce terrorism inside Yemen.


As the months went on, more and more men and equipment poured into the region. At the same time Administration spokesmen reassured an apprehensive world that they were exploring all the diplomatic channels available to avoid the conflict and that no military action was yet planned. As late as Sept 2002, there was still no firm decision on Iraq according to the Secretary of Defense. "What the president wants to do, and will do in his own time, is to provide information he feels is important with respect to any judgment he decides to make," Rumsfeld said, “As yet, President Bush has not made a final judgment on how to deal with Iraq”

His statement came as the level of troops deployed by CENTCOM in the region reached 48,000 excluding those assigned to Operation Enduring Freedom, doubling the size of the entire force that was in the region a year prior. Tommy Franks was now well on the way to achieving the more than 200,00 man force he had asked for in April, all the while telling the American people that no plan had yet been approved or implemented.

14 Comments:

Blogger The Computer Guys said...

Yo, you have a Terrific blog here! Lots of content means more readers, more readers means more interaction!
I'm definitely going to bookmark you!
I have a
mobile computer repair site/blog. It pretty much covers mobile computer repair Problems with your Windows Xp Computing !
Come take a Look when you get a chance. :-)

5:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Veteran's Day is November 11th and I hope that EVERY American will be flying the flag in honor of our troops fighting in Iraq and around the world to preserve our freedoms!

I can even tell you where to get one for free! Visit AmericanFlags.com right now and they'll send you a FREE American Flag. These flags were $19.99, but now they are FREE. You pay just for shipping/handling and they'll ship one to your door. (Actually - I've ordered more than 20 from them to give to my neighbors, as gifts, etc!)

Get your free flag now: **FREE AMERICAN FLAG**

Semper Fi!

Bill Adams

10:36 PM  
Anonymous home business idea said...

Hi thereIRAQFACT,I'm out looking for the most up to date information on homebusiness and came across your site.Even though this post was close to what I was looking for and it wasn't a pefrect fit, it certainly was well worth reading.I understand how I came across your page while I was looking for homebusiness related information. Great post. Thanks!

1:18 PM  
Anonymous home based business said...

Hi there IRAQFACT, a real useful blog. Can you believe it? When blog surfing for detailed info on home based business I ended up on your page. Obviously your site title of this post is not exactly what I was searching for, but your site caught my interest. Just wanted to drop a quick note to comment your blog...now to move on and continue my search for home based business. Should the need ever arise where you need information on home based business then drop by for a look.

10:15 PM  
Anonymous home base business said...

Hello IRAQFACT,I'm searching for the most recent information on home business idea and found your site. Although this post wasn't entirely what I was looking for,it certainly peaked my interest.I now know why I came across your site when I was looking for home business idea related info and I'm happy with the time I spent at your site.It wasn't an exact match but still a great read,thanks

1:18 PM  
Anonymous home business idea said...

Hello IRAQFACT,I'm searching for the most recent information on home business idea and found your site. Although this post wasn't entirely what I was looking for,it certainly peaked my interest.I now know why I came across your site when I was looking for home business idea related info and I'm happy with the time I spent at your site.It wasn't an exact match but still a great read,thanks

2:19 AM  
Anonymous home base business said...

Hi thereIRAQFACT,I'm out looking for the most up to date information on home base business and came across your site.Even though this post was close to what I was looking for and it wasn't a pefrect fit, it certainly was well worth reading.I understand how I came across your page while I was looking for home base business related information. Great post. Thanks!

2:09 PM  
Anonymous home business idea said...

HiIRAQFACT,I was online looking forsome info on homebusiness and came across your site.Even though it wasn't an exact fit,it certainly peaked my interest! I understand how I ended up at your page when I was looking for ahomebusiness related info.I'm glad I visited anyway.Nice post! Enjoy the read!

9:26 PM  
Anonymous home business idea said...

Hello IRAQFACT,I'm searching for the most recent information on home base business and found your site. Although this post wasn't entirely what I was looking for,it certainly peaked my interest.I now know why I came across your site when I was looking for home base business related info and I'm happy with the time I spent at your site.It wasn't an exact match but still a great read,thanks

9:11 PM  
Anonymous internetbusiness said...

Hello IRAQFACT,I'm searching for the most recent information on homebusiness and found your site. Although this post wasn't entirely what I was looking for,it certainly peaked my interest.I now know why I came across your site when I was looking for homebusiness related info and I'm happy with the time I spent at your site.It wasn't an exact match but still a great read,thanks

3:01 PM  
Anonymous homebusiness said...

Hi thereIRAQFACT,I'm out looking for the most up to date information on internetbusiness and came across your site.Even though this post was close to what I was looking for and it wasn't a pefrect fit, it certainly was well worth reading.I understand how I came across your page while I was looking for internetbusiness related information. Great post. Thanks!

1:59 PM  
Anonymous home business idea said...

HiIRAQFACT,I was online looking forsome info on internetbusiness and came across your site.Even though it wasn't an exact fit,it certainly peaked my interest! I understand how I ended up at your page when I was looking for ainternetbusiness related info.I'm glad I visited anyway.Nice post! Enjoy the read!

9:53 AM  
Anonymous homebusiness said...

HiIRAQFACT,I was online looking forsome info on homebusiness and came across your site.Even though it wasn't an exact fit,it certainly peaked my interest! I understand how I ended up at your page when I was looking for ahomebusiness related info.I'm glad I visited anyway.Nice post! Enjoy the read!

9:28 PM  
Anonymous homebusiness said...

Hi thereIRAQFACT,I'm out looking for the most up to date information on home base business and came across your site.Even though this post was close to what I was looking for and it wasn't a pefrect fit, it certainly was well worth reading.I understand how I came across your page while I was looking for home base business related information. Great post. Thanks!

3:04 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home