4,972. 4/16/2003

“On April 16 [2003], [Central Command leader General Tommy] Franks cheerfully announced that most U.S. combat forces in Iraq would be withdrawn within sixty days so that they would not ‘wear out their welcome.’ Franks’s plan called for keeping some thirty thousand U.S. troops there as a peacetime occupation force. As a result, two army divisions that were supposed to be sent to Iraq after the fall of Baghdad were never sent, and on April 21 the Pentagon canceled plans to deploy a third division there. By summer, there were too few U.S. combat troops to secure Baghdad, a teeming city of 4.8 million, or the rest of Iraq. Franks’s prescription for disaster had been endorsed by the White House and the Pentagon, and it was a repetition of the same mistake that he and [Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld had made a year earlier in Afghanistan. He declared victory and left the battlefield before the job was finished.”

 – Matthew M. Aid, The Secret Sentry, Page 264-265

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