- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 12, 2002


The Bush administration is working on postwar plans for Iraq that could include using American and other foreign troops as a stabilizing force until a new government is formed, the Pentagon said yesterday.

"Clearly, security would be a concern in the early months" after the overthrow of President Saddam Hussein, said Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke.

Any plan would include a Defense Department role in finding and securing any weapons of mass destruction, she said.

"The United States will not cut and run," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said. "The United States and our allies are committed to find a way to help preserve the stability and maintain the peace of the region and particularly Iraq as a unified country in the event military force is used."

He said the United Nations might be called upon to help stabilize a post-Saddam Iraq, and did not rule out U.S. forces being part of an international effort.

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell has told foreign governments the United States would be committed to assisting postwar Iraq develop a democratic government, but had not taken up any specific plan with them, a senior U.S. official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

President Bush says he has not definitely decided on a military invasion to achieve his goal of ousting Saddam. But among a range of proposals being developed is the Pentagon's role and, for instance, whether a force might be American or comprise whatever coalition joins in a war against Iraq. There also have been suggestions that an Iraqi government-in-exile be set up before any invasion so it could be ready to take power.

The plan is being developed by a number of U.S. government agencies.

Mrs. Clarke said it was "way too soon" to say what plan would eventually be approved.

One plan being considered by the White House is based on the occupation of Japan following World War II and includes installing a U.S. commander to administer Iraq, perhaps U.S. Central Command head Gen. Tommy Franks in the role taken by Gen. Douglas MacArthur after Tokyo surrendered in 1945, the New York Times said in its editions yesterday.

But officials said later yesterday that such a plan is among the least likely to be approved of those being considered.

"That's not what's envisioned," Mr. Fleischer said.

A senior White House official said that while there are people in the government studying the idea of a military occupation, Mr. Bush and his foreign policy team "are not looking seriously at this."

He said Mr. Bush is committed to helping the Iraqi people establish a broad, democratic government.

Mr. Fleischer said military civil affairs units may help rebuild Iraq's infrastructure.

"The point is we want to very quickly transfer governmental power to the Iraqi people both from inside Iraq and outside Iraq," he said.

Some have warned that American military control of Iraq would enflame Iraqis and Muslims in other countries.

"I am viscerally opposed to a prolonged occupation of a Muslim country at the heart of the Muslim world by Western nations who proclaim the right to re-educate that country," former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said during Senate hearings last month.

"Some kind of peace force is absolutely critical, but peacekeeping is very different from having a viceroy or some kind of commission," Anthony Cordesman, a specialist on Iraq at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said yesterday.

"Given Iraq's history, nothing could be resented more than if someone from outside, particularly from a Western state, takes over and dictates to Iraq" what it should do, he said.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide