Some Prewar Plans Predicted 5,000 U.S. Troops to Remain in Iraq by December 2006

Some of the planning by Gen. Tommy Franks and other top military officials before the 2003 invasion of Iraq envisioned that as few as 5,000 U.S. troops would remain in Iraq by December 2006, according to documents obtained by a private research organization.

Slides obtained by the National Security Archive under the Freedom of Information Act contain a PowerPoint presentation of what planners projected to be a stable, pro-American and democratic Iraq after the ouster of Saddam Hussein.

"Completely unrealistic assumptions about a post-Saddam Iraq permeate these war plans," said National Security Archive Executive Director Thomas Blanton in a statement posted on the organization's Web site along with copies of some charts used in the PowerPoint presentation.

"First, they assumed that a provisional government would be in place by 'D-Day', then that the Iraqis would stay in their garrisons and be reliable partners, and finally that the post-hostilities phase would be a matter of mere 'months'. All of these were delusions."

The organization said it initially requested documents related to the 2001-2003 planning sessions in 2004 and received them last month.

It said the posting Wednesday "reproduces the documents as they were released by CentCom, together with additional items prepared by the National Security Archive" as well as a chronology of Iraq war planning based on secondary sources and commentary by archives staffers.

Posting of the documents was reported by The New York Times in a story for Thursday's editions which noted that "the general optimism and some details of General Franks' planning session have been disclosed in the copious postwar literature."

The archives posting of additional detail includes commentary from some of the books and other material previously published about the war and its aftermath.

The archive is an independent research institute at George Washington University.