From: How I Didn’t Dismantle Iraq’s Army--NY Times September 8 2007“It has become conventional wisdom that the decision to disband Saddam Hussein’s army was a mistake, was contrary to American prewar planning and was a decision I made on my own. In fact the policy was carefully considered by top civilian and military members of the American government. And it was the right decision.”
So writes Paul Bremer III, former CPA proconsul , in response to Bush’s claim in a recent interview with the author of Dead Certain , that he (Bush) was blindsided by the "mistake" of the near immediate dismantling of the Iraqi army
If Bush was surprised that Bremer hadn’t followed “policy”, as he claims, wouldn’t he have demanded Bremer toe the line, pronto, or pack his bags immediately? Would not the presence or absence of some 300.000 plus military personnel—known as the "enemy" up to that point--be a big deal? Wouldn’t any commander-in-chief want to know just what in hell Bremer was up to? According to Bush, when he found out it was just too late. And in the end he gave Bremer a medal for doing such a good job.
If Bush really was surprised, well that would entirely fit his “management style” of being the laziest, stupidest and most clueless president ever; and doing nothing fits his m.o. perfectly as well. If on the other hand the disbandment of the army was settled policy, then why would Bush lie about it now?
Because the “responsibility” President doesn’t want to take the rap for any failure in Iraq. That’s why he wants to keep the occupation going, so he can wash his hands of it.
Nor does he want to be associated with his fellow criminal incompetents when facts and opinion turn against them. Ergo, when asked if he thought dismantling the Iraqi army was a “mistake”, he reflexively had to lie.
When asked by Dead Certain author Draper about the WMD, Bush has lied again, claiming that he now believes they were there—after having stated two years ago that in fact they weren’t. Praise Jesus! It’s a miracle! I believe again! And that’s why I had to invade Iraq! I’m saved and born again! Hallelujah!
Now, it looks like Bremer has Bush dead-to-rights on the army dismantling policy. Citing discussions with Wolfowitz, a memo from Rumsfeld and other notable meetings with high-level policy makers and advisers (all of which should be relatively-easily confirmed), Bremer damningly writes this:
“On May 22, I sent to President Bush, through Secretary Rumsfeld, my first report since arriving in Iraq. I reviewed our activities since arrival, including our de-Baathification policy. I then alerted the president that “I will parallel this step with an even more robust measure dissolving Saddam’s military and intelligence structures.” The same day, I briefed the president on the plan via secure video. The president sent me a note on May 23 in which he thanked me for my report and noted that “you have my full support and confidence."But Bremer doesn’t title his op-ed Bush Is a Liar. He titles it How I Didn’t Dismantle Iraq’s Army. Because this isn’t about Bush, it’s about him, and how he isn’t to blame—just as Bush insists he isn’t to blame either.
Bremer is largely correct in stating that “By the time Baghdad fell on April 9, 2003, the Iraqi Army had simply dissolved”. But he totally ignores (as he has also ignored in his self-serving memoir of his CPA tenure) the salient fact that the irregulars, Hussein’s loyal fedayeen, were still active and self-organized and still attacking US forces. He also ignores the fact the former members of the army were still individually armed. Nor does he dwell on the fact that there weren’t enough US troops to secure the oil facilities, his own useless staff AND the numerous weapons dumps known to the now ex-military.
In his defense, he writes:
[ In the weeks after April 17th ] “…the coalition’s national security adviser, Walter Slocombe, discussed options with top officials in the Pentagon, including Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. They recognized that to recall the former army was a practical impossibility because postwar looting had destroyed all the bases.”Along with the destruction of former administrative facilities it would indeed have been impossible to track down Iraqi army personnel and re-organize their units under US control. After all, hardly anyone could read or speak Arabic so asking around or trying to read any personnel documents for names and addresses—if they could be found—would have been a Sisyphean task.
But part of that practical reality points to the utter stupidity of the prewar and post war “planners”, and severely undermines Bremer’s claims of a “right decision”. The fact is, the “decision” was made for him, by the idiots who committed just enough forces to defeat the Iraqi army in conventional combat, but not enough to establish persistent and meaningful order. Apparently no such consideration was required because as “liberators” the US wouldn’t have any problems from the grateful nation they’d freed from the yoke of oppression—according to the neo-conservative cabal of “experts”.
So certainly the collapse, shall we say, of the Iraqi army wasn’t Bremer’s doing; it just happened in the face of an obviously superior force and the US’s destruction of the majority of Iraq’s physical and political infrastructure—thanks to several thousand bombing runs. But Bremer was determined to destroy whatever military and organizational structure was left over that might have been used to re-establish order:
“I will parallel this step with an even more robust measure dissolving Saddam’s military and intelligence structures.”Bremer was the de-facto dictator in the “New Iraq”. He ruled with little consultation and by edict—in fact he’s pretty proud of that. Like Bush he insists he made no mistakes and did no wrong. He has fought the popular notion that “the decision to disband Saddam Hussein’s army was a mistake, was contrary to American prewar planning and was a decision I made on my own” ever since he returned from Iraq--and in light of this op-ed it appears he has good cause to protest.
But typical of his arrogant, self serving ilk he parses the issue and passes all blame (except to Bush of course whom he never directly addresses, despite his words being specifically prompted by Bush’s lying about a policy that was Bremer’s to execute and which he did with gusto).
Like Bush he has his own selective history to write, in which he, like Bush, is the hero of his own story, pure and blameless. Frankly Bremer should be grateful for the reputation he’s got that irks him so—otherwise he’d be forced to write “How I Didn’t Lose or Waste Nine Billion Dollars in One Year and Didn’t Help Ruin a Nation”.
These Dead Certain personality-types, Bush and Bremer being but two examples, infest our politics and our policies like never before. Is it any wonder with guys like these arguing who’s right and who’s to blame, without any reference to anything except their own egos, that Iraq and the US are in such a terrible mess?
Just look at the facts, the words they say, the actions they’ve taken and the results.
I know I’m not to blame, so who is? Well I know who to blame. Of that I’m dead certain.