"with the fifth anniversary of the start of the war approaching, some participants have provided in interviews their first detailed, on-the-record accounts of a decision that is widely seen as one of the most momentous and contentious of the war, assailed by critics as all but ensuring that American forces would face a growing insurgency led by embittered Sunnis who led much of the army.
The account that emerges from those interviews, and from access to previously unpublished documents, makes clear that Mr. Bremer’s decree reversed an earlier plan — one that would have relied on the Iraqi military to help secure and rebuild the country, and had been approved at a White House meeting that Mr. Bush convened just 10 weeks earlier." Michael Gordon
Cheney and McCain are in Iraq today, evidently seeking assurance that the recent AQI attempt at a counter-offensive (See the AQI commander’s statement of his intentions in an earlier post) will not derail either Cheney/Bush’s remaining hope for a "legacy" or McCain’s hope for a future. Given their personalities, I imagine that there is a good deal of menace in their interactions with "the people on the ground." Grrrr! Don’t sweat it, boys! AQI is not going to take over Iraq. We have discussed this previously in this space.
I have cited below Michael Gordon’s article on the decision to disband the Iraqi Army. He has documented the lack of consultation with the military command that led to that action. I was told at the time that this was the case, but to have the story laid out in detail in the NY Times is a useful thing. The argument was made then that "the army had ceased to exist" in that the troops had gone home and that their cantonments had been looted into unusability. Such an argument displayed a perhaps wilful ignorance of the truth that ground armies are social institutions with human infrastructure and unit traditions that can be harnessed for the purpose of recalling soldiers to organized units useful in situations like 2003-4.
The truth was that Bremer/Slocombe and those in Washington, who, like them, had drunk the Koolaid of neoconism were seeking a Cambodia "in the year zero" situation in which a brave new world could be built in the Middle East. Motive? Pick which ever one you may fancy. Bremer knew next to nothing of the Middle East when he was picked for the job. I suppose that and a certain ethical flexibility were his qualifications. Henry Kissinger was probably behind Bremer’s appointment. What was Kissinger’s role in the disbandment of the Iraqi military?
Today, Senator Clinton made a comprehensive and forthright statement concerning her future policy with regard to Iraq. Given the pattern of press coverage and the evident attention span of the electorate, it probably won’t get the coverage it deserves. It hits all the bases, is clear, unequivocal and creates the skeleton for a policy in the Middle East that can lead us out of the morass.
I hope she gets a chance to carry it out. pl