The NYT op-ed by Jerry Bremer on how he did not personally make the decision to dismantle Iraq’s army rings true. What happened is about historical perspective. Other than Bush and Cheney, the main proponents of war with Iraq were Jews, who have always been critical of the US and the other allied victors for being too lenient in dealing with some of the Nazis after World War II, allowing them to escape or remain in low profile positions in Germany. Thus the American Jews who ousted Saddamn Hussein were determined to get rid of all traces of his Baathist party colleagues. They did not want to repeat what they saw as the mistakes of the US after World War II. Bremer specifically mentions coordinating his de–Baathification strategy with Paul Wolfowitz and Doug Feith, both Jews. They of course had a large Jewish back-up network including Richard Perle, William Kristol, Ken Adelman, et al., who were well plugged into this administration’s defense policy machinery.
He also says he coordinated it with Jay Garner, his predecessor, who in interviews in Woodward’s State of Denial claims that he did not like the de–Baathification proposal, but I suspect that at least some of Garner’s comments are self-serving, made after the strategy had begun to fail. Garner was himself very close to the Israelis, which is why I thought he was chosen for the job before he lost it to Bremer.
I don’t know why Bremer got the job. At the State Department, I remember him mainly as being the ultimate staff assistant, the head of S/S, the Secretary of State’s secretariat, who made sure all the briefings, decision memos, etc., were properly prepared on time. He went on to be an ambassador, a reward for his staff work, but I don’t think that’s how he made his mark. Ironically, maybe he was chosen because he was known to be a staffer who would not go off on his own, but would do a good job of implementing the policies of his bosses.