Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Paul Bremer's legacy: Bu$h's man in Iraq

Coalition Provisional Authority

The Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA), was established on January 20, 2003 by the United States Government two months before the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It was intended to act as a caretaker administration in Iraq until the creation of a democratically elected civilian government.

Retired United States Army Lieutenant General Jay Garner was appointed as the Director of ORHA in 2003. Upon the dissolution of ORHA and the creation of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), he then became the first chief executive of the CPA. Due to his past military experiences in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and his reconstruction efforts in northern Iraq during Operation Provide Comfort, Garner's credentials and close ties to the U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld made him an obvious choice for the task. His term, however, lasted only from April 21, 2003, until he was replaced abruptly less than a month later by Paul Bremer on May 11, 2003.

Garner's swift dismissal from his post by U.S. authorities came as a surprise to many within the CPA. In an interview with the BBC program Newsnight, Garner publicly stated that his preference was to put the Iraqi people in charge as soon as possible and to do it with some form of elections. Privately, there was intense pressure from the U.S. Government to begin a process of removing members of the Ba'ath Party from their positions within the Iraqi government and military. Garner's refusal to implement this "de-Ba'athification" of Iraqi society as a matter of public policy infuriated several senior members of the U.S. Government, and led directly to his dismissal.

The first act of the CPA under Paul Bremer was to issue order of de-Ba'athification of Iraqi society. On May 23, CPA Order Number 2 formally disbanded the Iraqi army On July 22, 2003, the CPA formed the Iraqi Governing Council and appointed its members. The Council membership consisted largely of Iraqi expatriates who had previously fled the country during the rule of Saddam Hussein and also with many outspoken dissidents who had been persecuted by the former regime.

In the late afternoon of December 14, 2003, the CPA held a press conference at the Iraqi Forum convention center within Baghdad's Green Zone to announce that former President of Iraq Saddam Hussein had been taken into custody the previous night from a foxhole in a town near Saddam's home town of Tikrit, Iraq. Present at the announcement was Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez of the U.S. Army, Administrator Bremer, members of the British and American intelligence agencies, several members of the Iraqi Governing Council, and a large room full of journalists representing news organizations from around the world.

In order to defeat possible insurgent planning, the CPA transferred power to the newly appointed Iraqi Interim Government at 10:26 AM local time on June 28, 2004. The CPA thus disbanded, L. Paul Bremer left Iraq that same day.

Bremer was a Managing Director of Kissinger Associates, Inc. (1989-2001
Kissinger Associates, Inc. is a New York City-based "international consulting firm" owned and managed by Henry Kissinger.
The company describes itself as providing "strategic advisory and advocacy services to a select group of multinational companies. The firm provides advice regarding special projects, assists its clients to identify strategic partners and investment opportunities, and advises clients on government relations throughout the world.

On Jan. 30, 2005, an official report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction stated that $9 billion for the reconstruction of Iraq might have disappeared in frauds, corruption and other misbehavior. Hmm, what happened to Mr. Bremer? He was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President George Bush.


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