Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Bremer Says He Was Ignored When Asking for More Troops

Bremer, who was the top civilian in Iraq, has come out with a new book, "My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope." In Bremer's new book, he claims that he asked Bush and Rummy for an increase in troop strenght and was ignored. So, that whole thing about Bush saying - if they ask for it, they will get it - was just another one of his lines. Kind of like - if anyone in this administration had anything to do with the CIA leaking of Valerie Plame, they will be fired.

Bremer Says He Sought Rise in U.S. Troop Strength in Iraq

Published: January 10, 2006

WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 - The American who served as the senior civilian administrator in Iraq says he complained to President Bush and other officials that far too few troops were committed to the occupation in the first year after Saddam Hussein was ousted.

In a new book, the official, L. Paul Bremer III, wrote that he had voiced his concerns personally to Mr. Bush and other administration officials, even writing a formal message in May 2004 to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. The private note stated that "the deterioration of the security situation" made it clear that "we were trying to cover too many fronts with too few resources," Mr. Bremer wrote in the book.

"Even a year after liberation, the military still could not provide adequate protection for movements to and from Baghdad International Airport," Mr. Bremer recalled, and wrote that he had advised Mr. Rumsfeld to "consider whether the coalition could deploy one or two additional divisions for up to a year."

(Full Story)


Minh-Duc said...

On troop strength, it is the theater commander who has the right to ask for more troops, not a civilian administrator. (2) The number of troop is irrelevant in a counterinsurgency campaign. The key is the type of troop (special forces, inteligence, civil affairs, and spyops).

Bremer is again trying to dodge his responsibility. It is of no doubt that Rummy made many mistakes, but the the balance of the blame go to Bremer. My experience with the CPA in Iraq was very negative. The CPA was supposed to be responsible for all the political, economic, and administrative function and the military was supposed to handle the security part. We ended up doing their works too. For a whole year, I did not see one single official from the CPA in my area of operation. They never left the Green Zone.

Dingo said...

I agree with you the Bremer is also to blame and that the job of the CPA and the military is different, but the work of the CPA is predicated on security. You can have the best run civilian authority in the world, but that is rendered moot if the security is not there.

I think the point just goes more to the bull that Bush continued to push to the public - everyone over there has everything they have asked for.

tommy said...

What Bremer thought about troop strength is irrelevant. What the commanding officer thought about troop strength matters. If more troops had been sent, they would not have been placed under Bremer's control, they would have been under the command of the commander, and if he didn't have a place for them then it would have served no purpose.

That security could(should) have been better is obvious, but to imply more troops would inherently have helped doesn't necessarily follow.

Minh-Duc said...

My point is Bremer trying to shift the blame to the President. Who is he to request more or less troops? He was not a military commander in Iraq, nor does he has the expertise to make the call.

The security condition in Iraq occured precisely because Bremer disbanded the Iraqi Army - leaving more than 200,000 armed men unemployed. I was an interrogator. Most of the insurgents I talked to in Iraq were not really insurgents. They were simply doing it for the money. Baathist financiers were paying $100 to anyone who is willing to plant an IED. An average Iraqi day laborer make $3 a day. Do the math.

Of course the President is at fault - indirectly. He put Bremer in charge.

Dingo said...

I agree that disbanding the Iraqi army was a huge mistake, but my understanding is that it was not Bremer's call to disband the Iraqi army, but came from Rummy and/or Bush himself.

Again, I was not defending Bremer, only pointing out the the plan was not as much a consensus as it was proposed to be to the American people.

tommy said...

No plan is ever consensus really, at least not any military plan I've been around or read about. The plans are also always full of mistakes and missteps. In time, you get to judge the significant ones and who gets to claim to have been correct.

We will never know if the Iraqi army should have been stood up. Doing so may have brought bigger problems than taking it down did, but it's unknowable.