I usually try to wait a while to let sources like this get vetted. With the proviso that it may turn out that this guy didn't have the access he says he had, this certainly is pretty damning, though I don't think many Bush critics will be surprised. This is a quote in a local paper from an interview of Brigadier General Mark Scheid, who claims to be one of the top planners for the Iraq war (Hat tip: Orin Kerr at Volokh, emphasis added)
A day or two [after 9/11], Rumsfeld was "telling us we were going to
war in Afghanistan and to start building the war plan. We were going to
Then, just as we were barely into Afghanistan ... Rumsfeld came and told us to get ready for Iraq." . . .
Planning was kept very hush-hush in those early days.
"There was only a handful of people, maybe five or six, that were
involved with that plan because it had to be kept very, very quiet."
There was already an offensive plan in place for Iraq, Scheid said. And
in the beginning, the planners were just expanding on it.
"Whether we were going to execute it, we had no idea," Scheid said.
Eventually other military agencies - like the transportation and Army materiel commands - had to get involved.
They couldn't just "keep planning this in the dark," Scheid said.
Planning continued to be a challenge.
"The secretary of defense continued to push on us ... that
everything we write in our plan has to be the idea that we are going to
go in, we're going to take out the regime, and then we're going to
leave," Scheid said. "We won't stay."
Scheid said the planners continued to try "to write what was called
Phase 4," or the piece of the plan that included post-invasion
operations like occupation.
Even if the troops didn't stay, "at least we have to plan for it," Scheid said.
"I remember the secretary of defense saying that he would fire the next
person that said that," Scheid said. "We would not do planning for
Phase 4 operations, which would require all those additional troops
that people talk about today.
"He said we will not do that because the American public will not back us if they think we are going over there for a long war."
If true, this is hard to defend. I guess the administration could argue that they didn't want to clutter up their core planning effort with contingencies. Beyond this being pretty bad planning practice, it also makes no sense because at the time this planning started, according to the administration time line, the Iraq War itself was just a contingency.