In his first national interview since retiring from the Army last July, Franks tells Parade magazine he never believed U.S. troops could be out of Iraq in a year. Franks said Iraq has to dig out of a 30-year hole dug by former dictator Saddam Hussein and that 5 years is a more realistic goal for U.S. withdrawal.
"It takes time to solve problems when you're talking about 25 to 26 million people," Franks said.
The 59-year-old ex-general said war planners expected international allies to send 150,000 troops to help with peacekeeping operations but that did not happen.
His biggest surprise of the war was not finding any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, after he had been warned that Saddam would use biological weapons by several Middle Eastern leaders.
Franks' new book "American Soldier," will be published by ReganBooks/HarperCollins Tuesday.