Bremer Doesn’t Give Up

Bremer_gesture.jpgL. Paul Bremer just doesn’t know when to quit. He writes an op-ed defending the decision — now no longer [“his” decision]( — to disband the Iraqi Army in 2003. There’s nothing new in this op-ed to contend with more recent reporting — such as that from Charles Ferguson’s documentary “[No End in Sight](” — that the Iraqi Army did not “dissolve” as Bremer maintains, but was waiting for a signal. Bremer’s order sent a signal all right — you’re not wanted. Full disclosure: I am in Ferguson’s movie talking about the Iraqi Army waiting for the CPA to call it back.
What is new is a timeline of the decision to disband the army that does seem to show that higher-ups such as Donald Rumsfeld and the President were aware of the order and at least tacitly approved of it. That doesn’t make it the right decision, however. Bremer still says it was the right thing to do, and ends his op-ed with this howler:

Despite all the difficulties encountered, Iraq’s new professional soldiers are the country’s most effective and trusted security force. By contrast, the Baathist-era police force, which we did recall to duty, has proven unreliable and is mistrusted by the very Iraqi people it is supposed to protect.

Is he kidding? First of all the new police force has been reconstituted about three times now, and it’s not distrusted because it’s a Ba’athist-dominated force but because Shi’ite death squads and militias now run it. [New reports just out today]( show the Army to be relatively ineffective. It may very well be the “most effective and trusted security force,” but that’s not really saying much is it?