Today, Paul Bremer, the former head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, releases a new book on his year in Iraq. Bremer is currently embarking on a media tour to pitch the book, and in doing so, is contradicting many of the false assertions he made about Iraq while he was in a position of authority.
ON U.S. TROOP LEVELS
Bremer Now: I Wanted More Troops
B. WILLIAMS: Just days after he got the job, Bremer says he saw an alarming report from a think tank, concluding it would take three times more US troops to stabilize Iraq than had actually been sent. He says he tried to get the attention of his direct boss””Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. You’ll need a half million soldiers. It’s a piece of paper you sent to Secretary Rumsfeld. How did he react to that?
BREMER: So I sent a summary of it around to Rumsfeld and just said, “I thought you should take a look at this.” I never had any reaction from him. [NBC Dateline, 1/8/06]
Bremer Then: I Have Enough Troops
Q: Is the current troops strength adequate to produce the security that you’ll think is need now?
BREMER: Yeah I think it is. [Briefing, 7/24/03]
ON THE IRAQI INSURGENCY
Bremer Now: We Didn’t See The Insurgency Coming
WILLIAMS: Whose fault is it that no one saw the insurgency coming?
BREMER: You know I’ve thought about that as I looked back a lot, because we really didn’t see the insurgency coming. [NBC Dateline, 1/8/06]
Bremer Then: We Saw The Insurgency Coming
Q: Do you think that some of Saddam’s forces already had plans for opposition, even before the war began, and that they prepositioned personnel and weaponry before the war?
BREMER: Well, it’s possible. There has been some evidence of planning for the possibility of losing the war militarily and going into some kind of insurgency or organized resistance.
[Fox News Sunday, 7/20/03]
Bremer Now: I Didn’t Disband Iraqi Army
WILLIAMS: Fairly or unfairly, you may be forever known as the guy who disbanded the Iraqi army. Is that fair?
BREMER: Well, it’s not fair in two respects. (a) It wasn’t me, (b) we didn’t disband it. The decision was discussed by my advisors with the senior civilians in the pentagon for weeks before I made my recommendation, which was approved in Washington. [NBC Dateline, 1/8/06]
Bremer Then: Pentagon Said It Was His Decision To Disband Iraqi Army
“[General Peter] Pace said Paul Bremer, the head of the coalition provisional authority in Baghdad, ordered the army disbanded on his own authority.” [AFP, 2/18/04]
ON THE QUALITY OF IRAQI FORCES
Bremer Now: Concerned About Misrepresentation of Iraqi Force Strength
WILLIAMS: Bremer thought the Pentagon painted a false picture of Iraq’s security forces and he said so.
BREMER: I raised my concerns about the numbers and quality of these forces – really, right from the beginning.
WILLIAMS: With whom?
BREMER: Well, with the president, with Secretary Rumsfeld, with senior military leaders. [NBC Dateline, 1/8/06]
Bremer Then: Misrepresented Strength of Iraqi Forces
QUESTION: How many troops, Iraqi troops, in this new Iraqi army or security force, whatever specific phrase you want to use to call them, are there right now? How many have been redeployed to help you? And how many do you project having over the next year?
BREMER: Well, the total number of Iraqis involved in one way or the other in their security, we think will reach about 220,000 by September, which is a very substantial number.
Why didn’t Bremer speak up when he had the chance to change the course of Bush’s policy? Bremer said that he spoke privately with the president but did not do so publicly because “the president’s style””his style is to guard his counsel.” But now, for just $17.82, you can breach this confidence and learn what Bremer was telling the president behind closed doors.