General: Rumsfeld told us not to plan for "postwar" Iraq

Is this what Cheney had in mind?

Published September 11, 2006 7:16PM (EDT)

When Dick Cheney says he'd do "exactly the same thing" all over again in Iraq, we wonder if this is what he has in mind: In an interview last week with Virginia's Daily Press, the retiring commander of the Army Transportation Corps says that Donald Rumsfeld specifically directed war planners to stop short of planning for what would happen after Saddam Hussein's government fell.

"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," said Brig. Gen. Mark Scheid.

Scheid, one of a small group of officers involved in drafting an Iraq plan, said that he and his colleagues tried to write "what was called Phase 4" -- a plan for post-invasion operations -- so that "at least [we'd have] a plan for it" if U.S. soldiers didn't leave Iraq immediately after deposing Saddam.

"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. He said we will not do that because the American public will not back us if they think we are going over there for a long war."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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