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Buffalo (NY) News
September 23, 2006

U.S. Military Did Have Plan For Postwar Iraq

The assertions in the Sept. 15 News editorial, "Fire Rumsfeld," that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld "had forbidden military strategists to plan for securing postwar Iraq" and "threatened to fire" anyone who did are absurd. The general quoted in the column, Brig. Gen. Mark Scheid, publicly refuted the original article, explaining it was a "manipulation of my words to stir controversy."

The U.S. military began planning for post-Saddam Iraq in 2002. This planning included input from all parts of the U.S. government, including the secretary's own policy office, the State Department and the National Security Council. A group of American and Allied officers at Central Command was specifically assigned the task of preparing for "Phase IV," the transition from major combat to security and stability operations. And in January 2003, the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance was created to plan for and facilitate the administration of post-Saddam Iraq.

Furthermore, the editorial stated that Rumsfeld "cashier[ed]" Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki after he supposedly disagreed with military leaders over troop levels in Iraq. In fact, Shinseki completed his full four-year term as service chief and retired on schedule.

Bryan Whitman, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, Washington, D.C.

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