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Profile: Thomas Franks

 
  

Positions that Thomas Franks has held:

  • Commander of the US Central Command


 

Quotes

 
  

Quote, March 22, 2003

   “There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. As this operation continues, those weapons will be identified, found, along with the people who have produced them and who guard them.” [Washington Post, 3/22/03]

Associated Events

Undefined, April 13, 2003

   “I think what we are so proud of is governments which permit their populace to be involved in a process that provides them freedom, provides them liberty. And I think what we will see in the months and years ahead in Iraq will provide a bit of a model for how that can be done. ... because, Tony, it will be the Iraqi people who decide how to do that, and they will do it on their terms.” [US Department of Defense, 4/13/2003]

Associated Events


 

Relations

 
  

No related entities for this entity.


 

Thomas Franks actively participated in the following events:

 
  

September 2000: General Tommy Franks Tours Central Asia to Build Military Aid Relationships      Complete 911 Timeline

      
General Tommy Franks.
US General Tommy Franks tours Central Asia in an attempt to build military aid relationships with nations there, but finds no takers. Russia's power in the region appears to be on the upswing instead. Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev writes, “The actions of Islamic extremists in Central Asia give Russia the chance to strengthen its position in the region.” However, shortly after 9/11, Russia and China agree to allow the US to establish temporary US military bases in Central Asia to prosecute the Afghanistan war. The bases become permanent, and the Guardian will write in early 2002, “Both countries increasingly have good reasons to regret their accommodating stand. Having pushed, cajoled, and bribed its way into their Central Asian backyard, the US clearly has no intention of leaving any time soon.” [Guardian, 1/10/02]
People and organizations involved: Russia, China, Igor Sergeyev, Thomas Franks
          

May 16, 2001: US Strengthens Military Relations with Central Asian Republics      Complete 911 Timeline

       US General Tommy Franks, later to head the US occupation of Afghanistan, visits the capital of Tajikistan. He says the Bush administration considers Tajikistan “a strategically significant country” and offers military aid. This follows a visit by a Department of Defense official earlier in the year. The Guardian later asserts that by this time, “US Rangers were also training special troops in Kyrgyzstan. There were unconfirmed reports that Tajik and Uzbek special troops were training in Alaska and Montana.” [Guardian, 9/26/01]
People and organizations involved: Bush administration, Thomas Franks
          

Early October 2001: General Franks Disregards Advice to Open Second Front in Afghanistan      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Washington Post reports in late 2004 that, shortly after Richard Myers officially becomes Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman on October 1, 2001, he raises doubts about the military plan to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan. General Tommy Franks, the chief of US Central Command, plans a single thrust towards the capital, Kabul, from the north. Myers urges Franks to open a southern front. A brigade of the Army's 10th Mountain Division in Uzbekistan and two Marine Expeditionary Forces in the Arabian Sea are prepared and in position for the role. However, Franks does not position a blocking force to meet any retreating forces. The Washington Post reports, “Some Bush administration officials now acknowledge privately they consider that a costly mistake.” Franks later claims that it would have taken too much time to put a force into position and would have antagonized the country's Pashtun majority. Most of al-Qaeda and the Taliban's leaders are eventually able to escape the country. “A high-ranking war planner [later] likened the result to throwing a rock at a nest of bees, then trying to chase them down, one by one, with a net.” [Washington Post, 10/22/04]
People and organizations involved: Thomas Franks, Richard B. Myers, al-Qaeda, Taliban
          

October 7, 2001: US Hesitates, Fails to Kill Mullah Omar      Complete 911 Timeline

       On the first night of the Afghan war, an unmanned Predator drone identifies a convoy of vehicles fleeing Kabul. Mullah Omar, head of the Taliban, is determined to be inside this convoy. The CIA is in control of the Predator attack drone and wants to use it to kill Omar, but they have to ask for permission from military commanders who are based in Florida. General Tommy Franks decides not to fire any missiles or launch an air strike against the building in which Omar takes shelter. Eventually fighters attack and destroy the building, but by then Omar and his associates have moved on. One anonymous senior official later says of this failure to kill Omar, “It's not a f_ckup, it's an outrage.” According to one senior military officer, “political correctness” and/or slow bureaucratic procedures are to blame. [New Yorker, 10/16/01] It is later revealed that this is part of a pattern of delays that will hinder many attacks on al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders (see Early October-Mid-November, 2001).
People and organizations involved: Mullah Omar, Central Intelligence Agency, Thomas Franks
          

November 21, 2001: Bush Wants Iraq Invasion Plan      Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld speak in private. Bush asks the Defense Secretary what kind of plan the Pentagon has for invading Iraq. “What have you got in terms of plans for Iraq? What is the status of the war plan? I want you to get on it. I want you to keep it secret,” Bush says. When Rumsfeld says its current plan is outdated, Bush instructs him to devise a new one. “Let's get started on this,” Bush says. “And get Tommy Franks looking at what it would take to protect America by removing Saddam Hussein if we have to.” Bush requests that discussion about Iraq remain low-key. “I knew what would happen if people thought we were developing a potential war plan for Iraq,” Bush later explains to journalist Bob Woodward. Bush does not share the details of his conversation with Condoleezza Rice, only telling her that Rumsfeld will be working on Iraq. [Woodward, 2004 cited in Associated Press, 4/16/04; Woodward, 2004 cited in New York Times, 4/17/04; Woodward, 2004 cited in Washington Post, 1/18/04; CBS News, 4/18/04 Sources: George Bush and other top officials interviewed by Washington Post editor Bob Woodward] When General Tommy Franks—who already has his hands full with the operation in Afghanistan—learns that the administration is considering plans to invade Iraq, he utters “a string of obscenities.” [Woodward, 2004 cited in Associated Press, 4/16/04 Sources: Top officials interviewed by Washington Post editor Bob Woodward] General Franks will meet with Bush and brief him on the plan's progress on December 28 (see December 28, 2001).
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Thomas Franks, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice
          

November 27, 2001      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       At the request of President Bush (see November 21, 2001), Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld telephones Gen. Tommy Franks with instructions to work on war plans for Iraq. “General Franks, the president wants us to look at options for Iraq,” the general will later recall being told. In his memoirs, Franks will write: “ ‘Son of a bitch,’ I thought. ‘No rest for the weary.’ ” Franks will brief Bush on the progress of his work a month later (see December 28, 2001). [Salon, 5/19/05; Franks, 2004 Sources: Thomas Franks] Over the next few months, Bush will ask for and receive increasingly detailed briefings from Franks about the forces that would be needed if the US were to move against Iraq. The need to prepare for an invasion of Iraq, according to insiders interviewed by the Atlantic Monthly, hinders the US effort against bin Laden and the Taliban. [Atlantic Monthly, 10/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Thomas Franks
          

December 2001      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       US General Tommy Franks tells Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that US planes patrolling the Iraq “no-fly” zones should begin “spurts of activity followed by periods of inactivity.” “We want the Iraqis to become accustomed to military expansion, and then apparent contraction,” he later recalls telling the secretary. “As Phase I is completed, we could flow steadily for the next sixty days, while continuing spikes of activity to lend credence to our deception. During the sixty days we would increase kinetic strikes in the no-fly zones to weaken Iraq's integrated air defenses.” [Franks, 2004, pp 530; Raw Story, 6/30/2005 Sources: Thomas Franks]
People and organizations involved: Thomas Franks, Donald Rumsfeld
          

December 28, 2001      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       General Tommy Franks, the head of US Central Command, visits Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas and briefs him on the progress of his Iraq war plan. Bush requested an updated plan from the Defense Department on November 21 (see November 21, 2001). [Woodward, 2004 cited in Washington Post 1/18/04 Sources: Top officials interviewed by Washington Post editor Bob Woodward]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Thomas Franks
          

February 19, 2002: Gen. Franks: US Is Deploying Resources from Afghanistan to Iraq      Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       General Tommy Franks allegedly tells Sen. Bob Graham (D) of Florida, who is on a visit to US Central Command: “Senator, we have stopped fighting the war on terror in Afghanistan. We are moving military and intelligence personnel and resources out of Afghanistan to get ready for a future war in Iraq.” [Council on Foreign Relations, 3/26/04 Sources: Bob Graham] (In his memoirs, Graham quotes Franks as saying that “military and intelligence personnel are being re-deployed to prepare for an action in Iraq.” [Knight Ridder, 6/18/2004; Graham and Nussbaum, 2004, pp 125] ) Franks denies making the comment. [Knight Ridder, 6/18/2004] The New Yorker magazine also reports on a redeployment of resources to Iraq at this time (see Early March 2002). [New Yorker, 10/20/03]
People and organizations involved: Thomas Franks, Bob Graham
          

May 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       When asked at a news conference in Tampa about what kind of military force would be needed to invade Iraq, Gen. Tommy Franks answers, “That's a great question and one for which I don't have an answer, because my boss has not yet asked me to put together a plan to do that.” Two years later, Franks will be on the record saying Rumsfeld instructed him to draw war plans up in November 2001 (see November 27, 2001). [Washington Post, 5/24/2002; CBS News, 4/18/04]
People and organizations involved: Thomas Franks, George W. Bush
          

(Mid-August 2002)      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       During a National Security Meeting at the White House, Condoleezza Rice suggests ending the attacks on Iraq's “no-fly” zones. But Gen. Tommy Franks disagrees. In his autobiography, “American Soldier,” he says he told Rice he wanted to continue the bombing in order to make Iraq's defenses “as weak as possible.” In his book, Franks uses the term “spikes of activity” to refer to the increase in bombing raids. [London Times, 6/19/05]
People and organizations involved: Thomas Franks, Condoleezza Rice
          

August 15, 2002: US General Believes Troops Will Remain in Afghanistan for Long Time      Complete 911 Timeline

       General Tommy Franks, commander of US troops in Central Asia, says, “It does not surprise me that someone would say, ‘Oh gosh, the military is going to be in Afghanistan for a long, long time.’ Sure we will be.” He likens the situation to South Korea, where the US has stationed troops for over 50 years. A few days earlier, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers said the war on terrorism “could last years and years.” [CBS News, 8/16/02]
People and organizations involved: Thomas Franks, Richard B. Myers
          

October 31, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       General Tommy Frank's full US battle plan, codenamed 1003V, is completed. [Independent, 9/29/04]
People and organizations involved: Thomas Franks
          

January 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance is created by the Pentagon to direct the post-war administration of Iraq. Its head, retired army general Jay Garner, reports to Gen. Tommy R. Franks of the US Central Command. The Office is later renamed the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). David Kay, a senior fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies and a former UN weapons inspector, had initially been selected to head the office, but he declined the invitation. Associates of Kay tell the New York Times that Kay felt the new agency seemed relatively uninterested in the task of promoting democracy. [New York Times, 2/23/03; New York Times, 4/2/03]
People and organizations involved: Thomas Franks, David Kay, Jay Garner
          

March 22, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Gen. Franks says during a news conference in Qatar: “There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. As this operation continues, those weapons will be identified, found, along with the people who have produced them and who guard them.” [Washington Post, 3/22/03]
People and organizations involved: Thomas Franks
          

April 13, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       General Tommy Franks tells NBC's “Meet the Press”: “I think what we are so proud of is governments which permit their populace to be involved in a process that provides them freedom, provides them liberty. And I think what we will see in the months and years ahead in Iraq will provide a bit of a model for how that can be done. ... because, Tony, it will be the Iraqi people who decide how to do that, and they will do it on their terms.” [US Department of Defense, 4/13/03]
People and organizations involved: Thomas Franks
          

December 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The Mexican government sends a series of diplomatic letters to British Foreign Minister Jack Straw asking the minister if the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) had spied on UN Security Council member states prior to the US-British invasion of Iraq. [Reuters, 2/14/04; The Observer, 2/15/04] To date, no response has been received. Nor has the British Foreign Office responded to inquiries from the press.
People and organizations involved: Thomas Franks
          

'Passive' participant in the following events:

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