Bush vs. Bremer; Round II

Over the holiday weekend we learned that President Bush had decided to throw Paul Bremer under the bus over the decision to disband the Iraqi military shortly after the initial phase of the ground war in Iraq had ended. His claim was that it was not his idea to disband the military and he had no idea it was going to happen.

Mr. Bush acknowledged one major failing of the early occupation of Iraq when he said of disbanding the Saddam Hussein-era military, “The policy was to keep the army intact; didn’t happen.”But when Mr. Draper pointed out that Mr. Bush’s former Iraq administrator, L. Paul Bremer III, had gone ahead and forced the army’s dissolution and then asked Mr. Bush how he reacted to that, Mr. Bush said, “Yeah, I can’t remember, I’m sure I said, ‘This is the policy, what happened?’ ” But, he added, “Again, Hadley’s got notes on all of this stuff,” referring to Stephen J. Hadley, his national security adviser.

Well, apparently Mr. Bremer was not too keen on being on the receiving end of a Bush Swift-Boating. In this morning’s WAPO Bremer took Bush to task for his statements.

A previously undisclosed exchange of letters shows that President Bush was told in advance by his top Iraq envoy in May 2003 of a plan to “dissolve Saddam’s military and intelligence structures,” a plan that the envoy, L. Paul Bremer, said referred to dismantling the Iraqi Army.

Mr. Bremer provided the letters to The New York Times on Monday after reading that Mr. Bush was quoted in a new book as saying that American policy had been “to keep the army intact” but that it “didn’t happen.”

The dismantling of the Iraqi Army in the aftermath of the American invasion is now widely regarded as a mistake that stoked rebellion among hundreds of thousands of former Iraqi soldiers and made it more difficult to reduce sectarian bloodshed and attacks by insurgents. In releasing the letters, Mr. Bremer said he wanted to refute the suggestion in Mr. Bush’s comment that Mr. Bremer had acted to disband the army without the knowledge and concurrence of the White House.

Hmm, I wonder who will be the first to say, “the President’s statement does not reflect the record.”

Others blogging this article: Firedoglake, The Mahablog, The Newshoggers, Pottersville, Economist’s View, Main and Central, About.com U.S. Politics, Brilliant at Breakfast, The Atlantic Online, Shakespeare’s Sister, rubber hose and Prairie Weather

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