3,563. 5/23/2002

"In a May 23 [2002] press conference in Berlin, [President] Bush asserted that Iraq's WMD programs were a serious threat but that he had not prepared an invasion strategy. 'I told the Chancellor that I have no war plans on my desk, which is the truth, and that we've got to use all means at our disposal to deal with Saddam Hussein.' The president made a similar comment in Paris three days later. …Bush had ordered the development of a new CENTCOM [Central Command] war plan, repeatedly met with [Central Command leader General Tommy] Franks to hear its details, offered his own views on the schedule for deploying troops and on the military's effort to couch the invasion as a liberation, and sent his vice president [Dick Cheney] halfway around the world to secure allies for the war. …By June there was not one war plan. There were two: the Generated Start, which gave the military ninety days to prepare to attack, and the Running Start, which was just what the name advertised [an immediate 45-day air bombing campaign with a ground campaign to begin 25 to 45 days following the start]."

 – Cobra II, Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor, 5/23/2002

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