The Bush administration is backtracking on the story, retold several times over the past few years that isn’t wasn’t their decision to disband the Iraqi army laying the blame on Paul Bremer’s shoulders. Much like Iran-Contra if scandals or failures mange to make their way to the proximity of any Republican Oval office then the administration and its minons in the noise machine start deflecting. While unlikely to dent any tin foil on the Right we have another confirmation that BushCo was indeed in on that massive misstep by the Serious Terror Fighters Brigade, Global Strategy or Grand Illusion?
Mr. Bremer has said that his decision was made in consultation with Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz and Under Secretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith, and was authorized by Mr. Rumsfeld. Although President Bush would tell his biographer Robert Draper that “the policy was to keep the Army intact,” The Times reported on Monday that Mr. Bremer and others who attended a May 22 video conference during which he outlined his plan said the president had seemed satisfied with what he heard. In December 2004 he would award Mr. Bremer the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. (emphasis mine)
[ ]… Mr. Bush similarly emerges from this book as a naïve, impulsive and stubborn leader, whose moral certitude and penchant for denial have made him more inclined to double down on a bad bet than ever to admit a mistake, a president whose post-9/11 search for a bold new approach to the world made him susceptible to neoconservative ideas of pre-emption and unilateralism that had gained little traction with his father or Bill Clinton.
George Jr’s attitude isn’t unfamiliar to anyone that visits a right-wing blog or Conservative web site. Some will go to the trouble of copying and pasting this or that AQ member that was captured – you know something Special Forces or the CIA would have done even if Micky Mouse were president. Some will still claim that Iraq had WMD and a partnership with AQ. At the end of the day it is more about childish petulance, the attitude that they were right and somehow history, especially if they are allowed to write the history unchallenged, will prove them right. How to Destroy a Country in Five Years
Five years of occupation have destroyed Iraq as a country. Baghdad is today a collection of hostile Sunni and Shia ghettoes divided by high concrete walls. Different districts even have different national flags. Sunni areas use the old Iraqi flag with the three stars of the Baath party and the Shia wave a newer version, adopted by the Shia-Kurdish government. The Kurds have their own flag.
The Iraqi government tries to give the impression that normality is returning. Iraqi journalists are told not to mention the continuing violence. When a bomb exploded in Karada district near my hotel killing 70 people the police beat and drove away television cameraman trying to take pictures of the devastation. Civilian casualties have fallen from 65 Iraqis killed daily from November 2006 to August 2007 to 26 daily in February. But the fall in the death rate is partly because ethnic cleansing has already done its grim work and in much of Baghdad there are no mixed areas left.
As a few clear headed individuals predicted even if Bush had been a better Commander-in-Chief instead of a rabid ideologue the Right’s vision of what Iraq would look like ignored both history and the consequences. Former Secretary of State Warren Christopher couldn’t have been more prescient in 2002 when he wrote, Iraq Belongs on the Back Burner
While Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld may be right in saying that our military can fight two wars at the same time, my experience tells me that we cannot mount a war against Iraq and still maintain the necessary policy focus on North Korea and international terrorism. Anyone who has worked at the highest levels of our government knows how difficult it is to engage the attention of the White House on anything other than the issue of the day. For example, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — a major crisis by any standard — now seems to be handled largely by an assistant secretary of state. Likewise, Afghanistan, which is at risk again of becoming a haven for terrorists, seems to be getting less attention than it deserves.
A United States-led attack on Iraq will overshadow all other foreign-policy issues for at least a year. In the early months, the news media can be expected to offer wall-to-wall combat stories, covered with characteristic one-dimensional intensity. Even if the optimistic predictions of quick victory prove to be accurate, we would then find ourselves absorbed with the occupation of Iraq and efforts to impose democracy on the fractious elements of that country.
Certainly one of the most astounding accomplishments of the Bush administration has been to increase the number of terrorists and rate of world wide terror attacks. One could imagine the non-stop shrillness of the Right if a Democratic president started a”war on terror” and actually contributed to the number of fighters. Yet Bush is still a unsung hero to that 29% that keeps bobbing its ugly head in popularity polls.
It is difficult for men in high office to avoid the malady of self-delusion. They are always surrounded by worshipers. They are constantly, and for the most part sincerely, assured of their greatness. ~ Calvin Coolidge