That doesn't mean they weren't planning on maintaining influence in Iraq, of course, only that they were never the slightest bit concerned with the butchery and suffering they were about to inflict an an already traumatized nation. They clearly intended to hand over the government to their favorite lick-spittal, Ahmed Chalabi, and then dig in to create permanent bases in the region from which they could launch attacks with impunity against misbehaving Islamic states. While oil plays a large role - the reason why we are bothering to fight over this land rather than let its people kill each other off, as we do with most of Africa - it has more to do with extending military and corporate power.
"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."
...."In his own mind he thought we could go in and fight and take out the regime and come out. But a lot of us planners were having a real hard time with it because we were also thinking we can't do this. Once you tear up a country you have to stay and rebuild it. It was very challenging."
They knew there weren't any WMDs. Valerie Plame told them so. It was always an excuse, like all of the other pathetic excuses.