Thursday, September 6, 2007

Cry me a River Paul Bremer

The New York Times editorial page today features a "don't blame me" article by Paul Bremer.

I don't even know where to begin. Lets start with the title: "How I Didn't Dismantle Iraq's Army". That is an outright lie. He did. While he is correct in saying much of the army had already dissolved, he doesn't mention the real reason they wanted to erase the existing structures: Baathphobia. The administrations heavy reliance on people like Ahmed Chalibi caused Baathphobia which went beyond reality. Chalibi had an ax to grind and we facilitated his singular cause. Many within the Baath party were simply ordinary citizens trying to make a living, not tyrannical dictatorship conspirators. Individuals within the party could be jailed for 10 years if they refused a party promotion. Would you turn down a promotion at work that offered more pay to be sent to jail? These people were supposedly the enemy.

He explains that other high ranking officials also supported disbanding the army. Sure he wasn't alone in the decision process, but it was his decision. Citing other sources who agreed with him does not erase culpability. The buck stopped with him. He was essentially the viceroy of Iraq.

Bremer then goes on to show why they dismantled the army. According to him it was dismantled because it symbolized the end of the Saddam era. Also most of the Shia conscripts wouldn't want to come back and serve under Sunni commanders. Wait a minute. This is an odd argument considering he first claimed he DIDN'T disband the army. In a true moment of narcissisms he even claims that what he did/didn't do was the correct decision?!

Lets parse this out. He claims that he didn't make the "right" decision of disbanding the army. An army that had to go. A twisted trail of logic to say the least.

We all make mistakes in life. At some point it makes sense to own up. In his case he just shouldn't make a terrible argument in the most prominent newspaper in the world to cover-up bad decisions. Move on.

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