on accounts in Michael R. Gordon and General Bernard E. Trainor,
Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation
of Iraq (New York: Pantheon Books, 2006); Tommy Franks
with Malcolm McConnell, American Soldier (New York:
Regan Books, 2004); Thomas E. Ricks, Fiasco: The American
Military Adventure in Iraq (New York: The Penguin Press,
2006); Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack (New York: Simon
& Schuster, 2004).]
21, 2001 - President Bush asks Defense Secretary Rumsfeld
about contingencies for war with Iraq, and directs him to
26, 2001 - Rumsfeld meets with Gen. Franks at CentCom headquarters
in Tampa and they review the existing operating plan, OPLAN
1, 2001 - Rumsfeld asks Franks to develop a commander's estimate
as the basis for a new war plan.
4, 2001 - Franks presents a video conference for Rumsfeld
on his commander's estimate, outlining robust, reduced, and
unilateral plans based on levels of regional support (see
28, 2001 - Gen. Franks briefs President Bush at Crawford on
the commander's estimate calling for an invasion force of
29, 2002 - President Bush targets Iraq in his "axis of
evil" State of the Union speech.
1, 2002 - Gen. Franks presents Generated Start, a plan building
to 275,000 troops, to Rumsfeld at the Pentagon.
3, 2002 - Gen. Franks briefs President Bush again on Generated
Start, but there is pressure from Rumsfeld to reduce troop
10, 2002 - Vice President Cheney begins a Middle East tour
seeking support from friendly governments for the invasion
21, 2002 - Gen. Franks meets with commanders at Ramstein,
Germany on planning that still calls for 5 and 2/3rds divisions
but emphasizes a faster march to Baghdad.
29, 2002 - Gen. Franks briefs the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
20, 2002 - Gen. Franks briefs President Bush at Camp David
on planning, calling for war to begin with 180,000 troops,
ramping up to 250,000.
20, 2002 - A PowerPoint slide on "Phase I Operations"
lists the following, among other steps: 1) Secure international/regional
support; 2) Posture forces for offensive operations; 3) Enhance
intelligence and targeting; 4) Degrade and deceive Iraqi regime;
5) Deter Iraqi internal and external operations; 6) Prepare
Iraqi opposition groups for action (see Tab
10, 2002 - PowerPoint slides on a "Compartmented Plan
Update" summarize several matters: timing; "enabling
actions" for war, including continuing "OGA [CIA]
covert action" in U.S.-controlled northern Iraq "which
started 4-5 months earlier," "post-regime government
strategy," and "strategic information operations;"
force deployment; and Phase IV (post-conflict) actions, including
"ensure the territorial integrity of Iraq," The
expected duration of Phase IV: months (see Tab
11, 2002 - Gen. Franks presents the "Running Start"
plan to Bush at Camp David, speeding up the invasion, using
"Red, White, and Blue air strike plans" as a bridge
to war, launching with only one Marine Expeditionary Unit
and 2 Army brigades or, maximum version, two divisions.
21, 2002 - When asked by the press "how many troops,"
Gen. Franks says, "That's a great question and one for
which I don't have an answer because my boss has not yet asked
me to put together a plan to do that. They have not asked
me for those kinds of numbers. And I guess I would tell you,
if there comes a time when my boss asks me that, then I'd
rather provide those sorts of assessments to him. But thanks
for the question." (Gordon/Trainor p. 52, Ricks p. 38)
19, 2002 - Gen. Franks briefs President Bush again on Generated
Start and discusses ongoing work on Running Start.
27-28, 2002 - Gen. Franks tells his commanders at Ramstein
to focus on Running Start because of the administration's
1-2, 2002 - Gen. Franks meets his commanders at Tampa and
tells them they need to be prepared to attack Iraq immediately
if so ordered. But there are concerns that Running Start will
result in a larger number of U.S. casualties.
4, 2002 - PowerPoint slides on "Compartmented Concept
Update 4 Aug 2002" summarize the Generated Start plan,
the Running Start plan, a Modified plan, and Phase IV actions,
including "Establish a secure environment and assist
in recovery and reconstruction" and "free individuals
unjustly detained" (see Tab
5, 2002 - Gen. Franks briefs the president and the NSC on
war planning (see Tab
K and Tab
L), and discusses the Hybrid concept. According
to Gordon/Trainor, "it was a hit at the White House,"
though Franks saw that Secretary of State Colin Powell had
doubts. Powell later called Franks to express his concern
about force levels.
5, 2002 - Colin Powell tells President Bush after dinner,
"You are going to be the proud owner of 25 million people
. . . . You'll own it all." (Woodward, p. 150) (This
the supposed "Pottery Barn rule": you break it,
you own it.)
14, 2002 - Gen. Franks and Maj. Gen. Gene Renuart meet with
Rumsfeld and update him on the Hybrid option.
15, 2002 - PowerPoint slides on "Compartmented Planning
Effort 15 August 2002" (Tab
I) provide background on planning, noting
"POTUS/SECDEF directed effort; limited to a very small
group . . . Integrate / consider all elements of national
power . . . Thinking 'outside the box', but 'inside a compartment'."
Planning Assumptions" for Generated Start
included "DoS will promote creation of a broad-based,
credible provisional government - prior to D-day" [invasion],
and "Iraqi regime has WMD capability."
26, 2002 - Vice President Cheney speaks to the Veterans of
Foreign Wars targeting Iraq.
6, 2002 - Gen. Franks meets with President Bush and the NSC
to review war planning. "Can we win this thing?"
asks Bush. "Absolutely," says Franks. (Gordon/Trainor
12, 2002 - Rumsfeld meets with Gen. Franks and with Lt. Gen.
McKiernan, who argues that the Hybrid plan should be replaced
with the Cobra II alternative that he has developed calling
for a larger invading force. By the end of the month it is
understood that Rumsfeld has essentially endorsed Cobra II.
20, 2003 - The U.S. invades Iraq.