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Bremer Letters Show Bush OK'd Disbanding Iraqi Army

September 4, 2007

On Sunday, I detailed Bush biographer Robert Draper's stunning portrait of the President asleep at the switch as the disastrous May 2003 decision to dissolve the Iraqi army moved forward. As the New York Times relayed, a nonchalant Bush told Draper "The policy was to keep the army intact; didn't happen" and " Yeah, I can't remember, I'm sure I said, 'This is the policy, what happened?'"
As Tuesday's New York Times now suggests, Coalition Provisional Authority viceroy L. Paul Bremer indeed told Bush that he planned to disband Saddam's military and that the President casually - and unquestioningly - went along for the ride.
Using letters provided by Bremer, the Times documents that President Bush indeed casually approved L. Paul Bremer's May 2003 plan to dissolve the Iraqi military. Bremer released both his May 22, 2003 letter detailing his plans and progress on de-Baathification and the disbanding of Saddam's army, as well as President Bush's May 23rd response.
In his May 22 letter, Bremer informs Bush that:

"We must make it clear to everyone that we mean business: that Saddam and the Baathists are finished...I will parallel this step [de-Baathification] with an even more robust measure dissolving Saddam's military and intelligence structures to emphasize that we mean business."

In his shockingly brief May 23 response, Bush seemingly blesses Bremer's fateful step to dissolve the Iraqi military:

"Your leadership is apparent. You have quickly made a positive and significant impact. You have my full support and confidence. You also have the backing of our Administration that knows our work will take time."

So much for President Bush's tall tale to Dead Certain biographer Robert Draper, "The policy was to keep the army intact; didn't happen." Once again, Americans must ask, what didn't the President know and when did he realize he didn't know. The dissolution of the Iraqi armed forces, along with overzealous de-Baathification and privatization of the economy, ensured the United States faced an insurgency - and chaos - in Iraq. And for that, apparently, George W. Bush thought Paul Bremer deserved the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
For more background on the Draper interviews and President Bush sleepwalking his way into disaster in Iraq, see:
"NYT: Bush Slept as Iraqi Army was Disbanded."

3 comments on “Bremer Letters Show Bush OK'd Disbanding Iraqi Army”

  1. If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you
    Chances are that you haven't grasped the situation

  2. george bush is a national disgrace. i feel sorry for any of those simpletons that still support him. his administration will rape and pillage this country until they bleed it for every penny they can. i will celebrate wildly at the news of his death, which i hope is a painful one. i wish pain and suffering on his entire family for generations to come. they have earned it w/their callous actions.


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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