PAUL BREMER WRITES:
IT has become conventional wisdom that the decision to disband Saddam Husseinâ€™s army was a mistake, was contrary to American prewar planning and was a decision I made on my own. In fact the policy was carefully considered by top civilian and military members of the American government. And it was the right decision.
By the time Baghdad fell on April 9, 2003, the Iraqi Army had simply dissolved. On April 17 Gen. John Abizaid, the deputy commander of the Armyâ€™s Central Command, reported in a video briefing to officials in Washington that â€œthere are no organized Iraqi military units left.â€ The disappearance of Saddam Husseinâ€™s old army rendered irrelevant any prewar plans to use that army. So the question was whether the Coalition Provisional Authority should try to recall it or to build a new one open to both vetted members of the old army and new recruits. General Abizaid favored the second approach. . . . Moreover, we were right to build a new Iraqi Army. Despite all the difficulties encountered, Iraqâ€™s new professional soldiers are the countryâ€™s most effective and trusted security force. By contrast, the Baathist-era police force, which we did recall to duty, has proven unreliable and is mistrusted by the very Iraqi people it is supposed to protect.
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