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Disbanding the Iraqi army: Interpreting the humor

Like most Iraqis, I was happy to see Saddam pushed out of power after the intervention of the United States, but my optimism took a sharp dip the day it was announced that the Iraqi army is to be disbanded. That day the liberation became, in my eyes and in many Iraqi eyes, an occupation. IMHO the act itself was a strategic mistake, despite the fact that there are individual acts trying to correct it. These acts remain feeble, isolated and often backfire. The message is: If you try to correct strategy with tactics then you should expect to pay high price.  There is no humor in the act itself, there is humor in its justification as expressed by Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, who claims responsibility for taking the decision. The type of humor is self and authority defeating, see Interpreting humor.

In an interview published by the Stanford Report on April 27, 2005,  L. Paul Bremer, who headed the American-led occupation authority in Iraq, defended his widely criticized decision to abolish the Iraqi army:

L. Paul Bremer says.. Meaning..
I think it was probably the most important decision I made Leave my bosses alone, I'll take the heat.
.. and it had the effect of avoiding a civil war in Iraq. The old army had been used to crush Kurds for 50 years. Rebuilding the force reassured the Kurdish minority that there would be real changes .. We made the Kurds so strong now we can't control them.. And we're going to make them even stronger. This ain't going to be a mistake like we done it with Saddam..
Just look what's happened in the last two months, they had the first free elections in Iraq's history... Just wait and see how Quiet it will be after the first elections.
I think it took a while for the insurgency to really reveal itself. Assaults are now coming from three different groups.. We didn't know what we were doing for a long time, if we still fail then we have three excuses.
I don't believe that (the three groups) are tactically coordinating things together but they all have in common that they don't like the future of Iraq as a democratic country. Three little guys don't like us but the rest of Iraq does!
The Iraqi security forces must be better trained and the number of incidents must decline before coalition forces can retreat. We can stay for as long as we like.
Interviewer quote: he (Bremer) considered the successes of his occupation administration, such as overseeing more than 20,000 reconstruction projects.  I can see my successes, I don't care if you don't.
Interviewer quote: Bremer noted that the interim government exceeded its target of having 25 percent women's membership, and the actual proportion of 31 percent is twice that in the U.S. Congress. What we ought to do is to have 31% women in congress by 
legislation, then we can catch up with modern Iraq.
Interviewer quote: He also noted that elected President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, is the first non-Arab leader of an Arab country. An Iraqi president from a 13% minority which is backed by the U.S. : See how powerful we are?
I don't think you can do foreign policy by cookie-cutter measures, I don't think you can say there's any one model that we can use. We bungled so much it is hard to make the same mistake ever again.
Americans are can-do, impatient kind of people. They like to get on with things, and this is tough stuff. Nation building is not something that happens overnight. It wouldn't be so bad if the Americans weren't so fast but.. I guess I was wrong after all, it would have been quicker if we had left the Iraqi army alone.

Copyright 2006 Faisal L. Kadri