Bremer left Brass out of Loop on Iraqi Army Dissolution
AFP reports that Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace says that the Joint Chiefs were never consulted by Paul Bremer over his decision to simply dissolve the Iraqi army last May. Since actually having an Iraqi army might have made it easier to control the security situation, and since hundreds of US soldiers have been killed and thousands wounded as a result of poor security, you would have thought that the uniformed military deserved a voice in that epochal decision.
This sort of high-handedness has characterized the civilians in the Department of Defense ever since Bush got elected. Gen. Shinseki said you’d need hundreds of thousands of troops in Iraq for some time to keep order. He got slapped down by Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, those great military minds and masters of anti-insurgency. Neither has ever offered Shinseki an apology or admission that he was right and they were wrong. The Neocons have been ordering around the generals, and the generals have had no choice but to do as they are told. Their premise is that the American public is populated by fools who can easily be swayed with a few rousing calls to patriotism. One only hopes that the next election proves them wrong.
Why did Bremer dissolve the Iraqi army? It is not true that it had stopped existing. The men would have reported to their barracks if instructed to do so and paid. Rumor has it that Ahmad Chalabi insisted on getting rid of the Baath army, because he wanted to build his own private militia and take over Iraq. But then, there are also rumors that Bremer did not like Chalabi, and did not agree with the Cheney/Garner plan, which had been to hand Iraq over to Chalabi within 6 months. One day we will know. But we won’t get back the men and women killed and maimed in Iraq.