In a CNN interview on Sunday, former Iraq occupation governor L. Paul Bremer responded to criticisms from Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, two of the Iraq war’s primary architects, of his decision to establish an extended American military occupation of Iraq, rather than handing over power immediately to an Iraqi government headed by former exiles like Pentagon favorite Ahmed Chalabi.
Perle insists that invading Iraq was “the right decision,” but that the trouble began when “rather than turn Iraq over to Iraqis to begin the daunting process of nation building…we sent an American to govern Iraq.” Former director of the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans Douglas Feith has likewise sought to cast blame on Bremer for “mishandling…the political transition” in Iraq.
In the CNN interview, Bremer fired back:
It sounds like the architects are running away from their building here. But it’s the same point. Basically what Feith is saying is we should have simply handed over right away to a group of unrepresentative exiles, and I just disagree.
Bremer asserts that the plan for a slow political transition conducted under the auspices of a longer-term U.S. military occupation was approved by President Bush, and condemns as unrealistic Feith’s and Perle’s plan to “simply hand over [power] to a group of unrepresentative exiles.” Watch it:
This is only the latest round in the blame game, as the architects of the Iraq war try to absolve themselves of responsibility for one of the biggest foreign policy blunders in American history. Contrary to Bremer’s assertion, however, the Iraq war architects haven’t run away as much as they’ve just moved upstairs to nicer apartments.
Check out the Wonk Room for more on the “neo-incompetence dodge.“