Iraqi army disbanded itself

Johnathon Foremon:

" HERE'S a signal that an analyst knows little or nothing about post-war Iraq: He cites the disbanding of the Iraqi army as one of the greatest mistakes made by the U.S.-led Coalition after the collapse of the Saddam regime.

"Unfortunately, this widely repeated pseudo-wisdom seems to have prompted a U.S. policy reversal with Ambassador Paul Bremer's decree that senior Ba'athist officers can now join the new Iraqi army.

"The Coalition has undoubtedly made huge mistakes in Iraq. The 'cease-fire' in Fallujah - which has given the Ba'athist klansmen there a chance to regroup while effectively conveying an impression of American weakness - is merely the latest.

"But the dissolution of the Iraqi army wasn't a mistake at all.

"For a start, as anyone who was there in April 2003 (and who wasn't doing their reporting from a hotel bar) could tell you, there was no Iraqi army for Bremer to disband.

"The Iraqi army had dissolved itself. It had ceased to exist. It was an ex-army.


" Long before Bremer took over from Gen. Jay Garner as head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, the barracks and bases were emptied. Most of the Iraqi army had simply doffed its uniforms and gone home between March 21 and April 15 (a sensible move, given the choices - destruction or surrender - if encountered by U.S. forces).


"Furthermore, if an Iraqi Army had been in existence, co-opting it to police the cities of liberated Iraq would have risked disaster on every level. Those who prate about the foolishness of dissolving the army are not thinking through the political or moral implications of their position.

"First of all, there is no reason to think that large swathes of that army could be trusted to work alongside its conquerors.


" But for anyone who genuinely cares about the Iraqi people, the notion that Saddam's army should have been used to maintain order in Iraq is grotesque.

"Unfortunately, that it was a mistake not to do so has become one of those Big Lies of the war - along with the false claim that Americans were not welcomed as liberators by ordinary Iraqis - that have gained currency thanks to constant repetition by newspeople whose hostility to the Bush administration trumps any commitment to the truth."


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