In search of some informed insight on what to do about the tinderbox in Iraq, the Today Show went slumming this morning. They called on, of all people, Paul Bremer.
I'll give you a few moments to recover from the shock.
Yes, Paul Bremer. He was the guy Bush II appointed to govern Iraq at the putative end of the war in May of 2003. He was variously called the U.S. 'administrator' and 'pro-consul' of the country. His term ended ingloriously in June of 2004. He was given billions of dollars to manage things, of which something like 8+ billion went AWOL.
In what was called De-Ba'athification, Bremer orchestrated the purge from public service of all Iraqis who had been affiliated with Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath political party. On hindsight, this reconstruction policy was a resounding disaster, creating a myriad of volatile security threats.
Bremer also masterminded the disbanding of the Iraq armed forces. Thousands of the Iraqi military were scattered through society, many becoming nuclei for the insurgency.
So ten years later, the producers of the Today Show have apparently not only absolved Bremer of the culpability for his colossal mismanagement of Iraq back then, but they have also anointed him as a wise geopolitical pundit. How revisionist of them!
To his credit, Bremer looked a bit dumbfounded when Savannah Guthrie actually asked him what he would do under the present circumstances in Iraq. The expression 'like a deer in headlights' comes to mind to describe his countenance.
Maybe Savannah should have asked him if he found any of the $8 billion missing swag too.