“How I Didn’t Dismantle Iraq’s Army,” by L. Paul Bremer III (Op-Ed, Sept. 6), about his role in firing the Iraqi Army in May 2003, is an exercise in bureaucratic finger-pointing.More proof that the W, Rove and Co. "strategy" to "win" the "war" in Iraq was flawed to begin with.
I was on the ground in Iraq involved in combat operations when he did it. We marines were all left scratching our heads in disbelief.
I find it ludicrous that Mr. Bremer asserts that his releasing members of the old Iraqi Army to the wind and not reconstituting the force was right. With a pen stroke, he disbanded the Iraqi Army, releasing more than 400,000 heavily armed, mostly Sunni, soon to be very angry men. Overnight they lost their role in Iraqi society, their income and their promise of a pension.
The worst thing you can do to any Arab man is humiliate him. Mr. Bremer and his advisers humiliated nearly half a million Iraqi men. These Iraqis typically supported extended families of seven to eight others, derived their status from their service and possessed little or no other means of income. Mr. Bremer beggared more than three million Iraqis overnight.
Surprise of surprises that within weeks, a Sunni-led insurgency using military-issue weapons was ambushing convoys and being paid to plant bombs?
Mr. Bremer should have guaranteed all pensions for former Iraqi Army members, paid soldiers to muster at barracks, tallied their names and skills and involved them in reconstruction.
If only more veterans and fewer combat innocents were to be found among the civilian leadership today, especially among those who got us into and mismanaged this fiasco in Iraq to date, we’d likely get into fewer wars, and the ones we did, we’d prosecute them to win.
Cambridge, Mass., Sept. 6, 2007
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Instead of Deploying A Retro "Not Me" Strategy, Perhaps Bremer Could Have Played Iraq Differently
I had one reaction to Bremer's recent op-ed in the NYTimes. One ex-Marine has a several good points laced with real boots on the ground knowledge of what happened, actually: