Pre-war plans envisioned only 5,000 US troops in Iraq by now
Thu Feb 15, 1:11 PM ET
WASHINGTON (AFP) – Pre-war plans for the US invasion of Iraq assumed that only 5,000 US troops would be left in the country by the end of 2006, disclosed military briefing slides disclosed show.
Prepared by the US Central Command in August 2002, the briefing slides set forth a series of other assumptions about post invasion Iraq that also turned out to be wildly off the mark.
Planners believed a credible provisional government would be in place by “D-Day;” that a co-opted Iraqi army would not fight and that the US invasion force would number 383,000 troops.
A slide titled “Phase IV – Notional Ground Force Composition” showed US force levels declining steadily from 270,000 to just 5,000 within 45 months of the invasion phase, as Iraq proceeded from “stabilization” to “recovery” to “transition.”
None of those things happened, in part because the war plan changed in the months before the March 2003 invasion but also because the military failed to anticipate and plan for the bitter insurgency that arose months later.
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