By: E&P Staff
In an interview to be published this Sunday in Parade magazine, Gen. Tommy Franks, former commander of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, expresses what the magazine calls a number of “blistering opinions.”
Franks, according to Parade, “believes that five years is a realistic timeline for the U.S. to be involved in Iraq.” Asked why Osama bin Laden was still at large, Franks replied tens of thousands of Arab families would happily take in Osama as their hero. Frank says the U.S. will eventually nab him “even though was don’t have enough sources on the ground.”
Indulging in what the magazine calls “a bit of score-settling,” Franks says: “I never received a single page of actionable intelligence from Richard Clarke.” He also says his biggest surprise of the Iraq war was the failure to find weapons of mass destruction which he flatly adds was “the reason we went to war.”
His book, “American Soldier,” will be published next week.
Franks defends starting the war with a smaller force which “gave the U.S. an element of surprise.” The only people surprised by Baghdad’s quick fall, he observes, were the “cable news folks, like al-Jazeera and CNN.”
As for the occupation of Iraq, it has gone “as I expected, not as I had hoped.” Both Americans and Iraqis were overly optimistic about the postwar phase. Flooding the country with money to employ “angry young Iraqis” might have helped, he says.
While expressing disappointment with the Iraqis for choosing looting and insurgency over “pulling themselves together to reform their country,” Franks also faults the international community. He reveals that he expected 150,000 troops would join the U.S. effort, which never happened.
Parade writer Lyric Wallwork Winik interviewed Franks earlier this month in Norfolk, Va. Since retiring in July 2003 he has given 100 speeches, with fees topping out at $100,000, the magazine says.