Thursday, September 06, 2007

Bremer: 'How I Didn't Dismantle Iraq's Army'

Apparently, Paul Bremer finds it rather uncomfortable under the Bush administration's bus and does not plan to spend any more time there than he has to.

Bremer is pushing back hard against Bush's suggestion to his biographer that Bremer acted outside of presidential authority by disbanding the Iraqi army.

In a New York Times op-ed, Bremer contends that the dissolution of the Iraqi army happened mostly as a result of the invasion itself, and that Bush and other top administration officials fully supported the decision not to "rebuild" it.

By the time Baghdad fell on April 9, 2003, the Iraqi Army had simply dissolved. On April 17 Gen. John Abizaid, the deputy commander of the Army’s Central Command, reported in a video briefing to officials in Washington that “there are no organized Iraqi military units left.” The disappearance of Saddam Hussein’s old army rendered irrelevant any prewar plans to use that army. So the question was whether the Coalition Provisional Authority should try to recall it or to build a new one open to both vetted members of the old army and new recruits. General Abizaid favored the second approach.

In the weeks after General Abizaid’s recommendation, 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.


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.”

The decision not to recall Saddam Hussein’s army was thoroughly considered by top officials in the American government. At the time, this decision was not controversial.


El Tiburon said...

The books author, Draper, was making the rounds on Rachel Maddow and Olbermann.

Draper kind of split the difference. He also interviewed Bremer and said Bremer never mentioned the memo in question.

Of course, at that time, Bremer probably didn't realize he was the latest road-kill victim.

Regardless, chalk it up to yet another issue the MSM will ignore.

Onward to Iran!