Roger L. Simon


I noted on the Daily Dish today that Andrew is irritated with the awarding of presidential freedom medals to George “Slam Dunk” Tenet, Tommy “We Have Enough Troops” Franks, and Paul “Disband the Iraqi Army” Bremer. I don’t give much of a hoot about awards. They’re all political in every sense (especially the ones for which I was nominated and lost!), but the issues involved with the latter two men interest me somewhat. (I agree that Tenet was inept.)

As it happens, the question of whether we should have “disbanded the Iraqi Army” came up at our party for Iraq the Model the other night. Because I have never been to Iraq, speak no Arabic, never have been in the Army, etc., unlike others, I have never had a strong opinion on this issue. I simply do not consider myself qualified. But I have to say I was surprised at the response to the question. Omar, the younger brother, all of twenty-four but waaay wise beyond his years, simply laughed and said it would have been impossible. There was no way we could have kept the Iraqi Army together even if we had wanted to. The Iraqi Army, hugely underpaid conscripts who hated what they were doing, had already dissolved before we got to Baghdad. No one wanted any part of it. There was no Iraqi Army to preserve. We had to start all over again – which we have… eventually.

So there you have it – that issue according to one Iraqi anyway. Believe him if you wish. I weight his opinion at least more highly than my own. But others would prefer to blame Bremer. As for whether we had enough troops, I remain agnostic on that too.