Wow! Here’s today’s New York Times on the Great Iraq Liberation Plan:
“Gen. Tommy R. Franks climbed out of a C-130 plane at the Baghdad airport on April 16, 2003, and pumped his fist into the air. American troops had pushed into the capital of liberated Iraq little more than a week before, and it was the war commander’s first visit to the city.
Much of the Sunni Triangle was only sparsely patrolled, and Baghdad was still reeling from a spasm of looting. Apache attack helicopters prowled the skies as General Franks headed to the Abu Ghraib North Palace, a retreat for Saddam Hussein that now served as the military’s headquarters.
Huddling in a drawing room with his top commanders, General Franks told them it was time to make plans to leave. Combat forces should be prepared to start pulling out within 60 days if all went as expected, he said. By September, the more than 140,000 troops in Iraq could be down to little more than a division, about 30,000 troops.
To help bring stability and allow the Americans to exit, President Bush had reviewed a plan the day before seeking four foreign divisions – including Arab and NATO troops – to take on peacekeeping duties.
As the Baghdad meeting drew to a close, the president in a teleconference congratulated the commanders on a job well done. Afterward, they posed for photos and puffed on victory cigars.”
I trust (he said severely) that these were not, er, Cuban cigars.