Tuesday, October 05, 2004
Paul Bremer, liar
On Monday Bremer told a gathering of insurance agents that
a lack of adequate forces hampered the occupation and efforts to end the looting early on.
"We paid a big price for not stopping it because it established an atmosphere of lawlessness," he said yesterday.... "We never had enough troops on the ground."
Bremer's comments were striking because they echoed contentions of many administration critics, including Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry, who argue that the U.S. government failed to plan adequately to maintain security in Iraq after the invasion. Bremer has generally defended the U.S. approach in Iraq but in recent weeks has begun to criticize the administration for tactical and policy shortfalls.
In a Sept. 17 speech at DePauw University, Bremer said he frequently raised the issue within the administration and "should have been even more insistent" when his advice was spurned because the situation in Iraq might be different today. "The single most important change -- the one thing that would have improved the situation -- would have been having more troops in Iraq at the beginning and throughout" the occupation, Bremer said, according to the Banner-Graphic in Greencastle, Ind.
Then there's the matter of planning—
In yesterday's speech, Bremer told the insurance agents that U.S. plans for the postwar period erred in projecting what would happen after Hussein's demise, focusing on preparing for humanitarian relief and widespread refugee problems rather than a bloody insurgency now being waged by at least four well-armed factions.
"There was planning, but planning for a situation that didn't arise," he said.
I've been planning how I'm going to spend the money from the lottery. Unfortunately, the situation hasn't arisen.
Well, Bremer's truths are apparently for the business classes, not the general public.
A Bremer aide said that his speeches were intended for private audiences and were supposed to have been off the record.
After making the headlines, Bremer had to cover Bush's over-extended posterior.
In a statement late last night, Bremer stressed that he fully supports the administration's plan for training Iraqi security forces as well as its overall strategy for Iraq.
"I believe that we currently have sufficient troop levels in Iraq," he said in an e-mailed statement. He said all references in recent speeches to troop levels related to the situation when he arrived in Baghdad in May 2003 -- "and when I believed we needed either more coalition troops or Iraqi security forces to address the looting."
The Post says
A senior defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said yesterday that Bremer never asked for more troops when he was the administrator in Iraq -- except for two weeks before he left, when he requested forces to help secure Iraq's borders.
No one ever asks the Defense Dept. for more troops. Even if a general or administrator should be so foolish, it's not quite clear where more troops would come from. Oh, I know! How about a draft?!