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Detailed War Plan Handed to Bush - Critic Says Attack Decision Has Been Made

General Tommy Franks, who would lead a US military action in Iraq, has presented President George Bush with refinements of a plan for attack. Gen Franks, who led the US military operation in Afghanistan, presented the latest version and its potential consequences to the White House on Monday.
"This is deadly serious stuff," the former UN chief weapons inspector Scott Ritter, an outspoken critic of the war plans, said yesterday. "He is not briefing about a cricket match. He is briefing about war options."

Mr Ritter, a Marine Corps veteran and Republican, said he was in no doubt that the Bush administration was committed to military action. "I keep hearing from people that they are bluffing. They are not bluffing. The Bush administration is going to go to war come hell or high water. The decision has been made."

Mr Ritter, the author of Endgame: Solving the Iraqi Problem Once and For All, said that military units were being mobilized, actions that had not been taken since the Gulf war. Gen Franks was not presenting a plan, as was being reported, but "refinements" to the existing plan.

The Bush administration continued to dismiss offers from Iraq for UN inspectors to return. The defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, mocked the idea of US congressmen visiting the country for a three weeks with experts of their choice.

"I can't think of anything funnier than a handful of congressmen walking around," said Mr Rumsfeld. "They'd have to be there for the next 50 years trying to find something. It's a joke."

The US war plan is believed to involve the deployment of around 50,000 troops in initial stages. Many US politicians believe that as many as 250,000 troops might eventually be needed. Few politicians are prepared to voice skepticism about a war on Iraq.

"This isn't American democracy in action," said Mr Ritter. "It's the failure of American democracy. Before we go to war with Iraq, we must be able to determine that Iraq poses a threat to the national security of the US. Such a determination must be backed up with substantive fact. I believe that Iraq does not pose a threat to the US worthy of war. This conclusion is shared by many senior military officers."
 
 

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