Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee


Iraq 2003 in review

Tuesday's Frontline, titled the Lost Year in Iraq, reviews the events in Iraq in 2003. Among those interviewed are former CPA Administrator L. Paul Bremer, Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, and Richard Clarke. It's available for viewing online if you missed it.

Despite the efforts on the ground in Iraq by both military and civilian personnel, the biggest mistakes were policy decisions made by the Pentagon in the post-war period. The one that stands out the most was the order to disband the Iraqi Army rather than use them in post-war reconstruction. That decision had a direct impact on the size of the insurgency.

"The problem you have there is, with that order, you suddenly tell somewhere between 300,000 and 400,000 soldiers that they're out of jobs, and they're all still armed. Now, whether they became terrorists, we don't know. But to me, that's just not a good beginning. Sun Tzu says you don't want to go to bed at night with more enemies than you woke up with that morning. Well, we went to bed with a whole lot more enemies that night than we had begun the day with.

But again, I don't fault Ambassador Bremer for that. I think that was another decree that he brought over in his briefcase; I think he was told to do that." -Lt. Gen. Jay Garner

Garner led the post-war reconstruction efforts in Iraq following the fall of Baghdad. He served as director of the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (OHRA), but was replaced by Paul Bremer after only a month.


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