September 4, 2007

NYT Unearths - Then Refutes - Another Stunning Bush Contradiction

Hatched by Dafydd

In yet another blow to the Bush regime, about which criticism continues to mount, the New York Times reports that, contrary to reported claims by President George W. Bush, Iraq envoy L. Paul "Jerry" Bremer did, in fact, inform Bush of Bremer's plan to disband the Iraqi Army and build a new one.

In the same article, the Times also reports that, contrary to their own reported claims, Bush actually never said he wasn't informed, and is not, in fact, in any disagreement with Bremer. But the important thing to bear in mind is that there's a good Bush bashing in there somewhere, if only we can ferret it out.

In addition, while the Times is unable to actually report any specific criticisms of Bremer by various former administration members, the newspaper is prepared to divulge the fact that such ex-officials are reported to have made such attacks. You follow?

First things first: We open with the proof that Bush was reportedly lying when he didn't quite say that he knew nothing about the plan to sack the Iraqi army and build a new one:

A previously undisclosed exchange of letters shows that President Bush was told in advance by his top Iraq envoy in May 2003 of a plan to “dissolve Saddam’s military and intelligence structures,” a plan that the envoy, L. Paul Bremer, said referred to dismantling the Iraqi Army.

Mr. Bremer provided the letters to The New York Times on Monday after reading that Mr. Bush was quoted in a new book as saying that American policy had been “to keep the army intact” but that it “didn’t happen.”

(Technically, for all legal purposes, we at the Times are not exactly saying that Bush said that, you understand; but the implication is the important thing... and by implication, Bush is a liar! If you forget everything else -- please, we ask you just to remember that much. Just one "two-minutes hate" per day, that's all we ask!)

The cleanup: Technically speaking, Bush meant no such thing: The supposed contradiction is a misunderstanding of a brief oral exchange with the author of a book:

In an interview with Robert Draper, author of the new book, “Dead Certain,” Mr. Bush sounded as if he had been taken aback by the decision, or at least by the need to abandon the original plan to keep the army together. [Where here, "sounded as if" means "can be read that way, if one is determined and sufficiently creative."]

“The policy had been to keep the army intact; didn’t happen,” Mr. Bush told the interviewer. When Mr. Draper asked the president how he had reacted when he learned that the policy was being reversed, Mr. Bush replied, “Yeah, I can’t remember, I’m sure I said, “This is the policy, what happened?’ ”....

A White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the White House is not commenting on Mr. Draper’s book, said Mr. Bush indeed understood the order and was acknowledging in the interview with Mr. Draper that the original plan had proved unworkable.

“The plan was to keep the Iraqi Army intact, and that’s accurate,” the official said. “But by the time Jerry Bremer announced the order, it was fairly clear that the Iraqi Army could not be reconstituted, and the president understood that. He was acknowledging that that was something that did not go as planned.”

But the letters, combined with Mr. Bush’s comments, suggest confusion within the administration about what quickly proved to be a decision with explosive repercussions. [Where here, "suggest confusion" means "our editors here at the Times cannot follow this exchange... therefore, Bush is confused."]

That last point is simply a corollary to the well-known axiom among movie reviewers that if a reviewer cannot follow the plot of a movie, the movie is "confused." If it turns out that the review is the only one who cannot follow the plot, that point is deemed out of order.

On a related note, the decision to disband the Iraqi army is another terrible blow to the Bush administration, against whom criticism continues to mount even higher than it mounted in the first paragraph:

The dismantling of the Iraqi Army in the aftermath of the American invasion is now widely regarded as a mistake that stoked rebellion among hundreds of thousands of former Iraqi soldiers and made it more difficult to reduce sectarian bloodshed and attacks by insurgents. [Please don't be boorish and demand to know who, exactly, widely regards it as a mistake.]

On an unrelated note, it's now widely regarded that it was impossible to keep the Iraqi army intact, and therefore there was no decision to be made... Fate had intervened, according to Bremer -- who is, I might add, the Times' trusted source at the beginning of the article:

“I might add that it was not a controversial decision,” Mr. Bremer said. “The Iraqi Army had disappeared and the only question was whether you were going to recall the army. Recalling the army would have had very practical difficulties, and it would have political consequences. The army had been the main instrument of repression under Saddam Hussein. I would go on to argue that it was the right decision. I’m not second-guessing it.”

Meanwhile, the New York Times has evidently been reading a number of reports and indications:

Mr. Bremer indicated that he had been smoldering for months as other administration officials had distanced themselves from his order....

Some senior administration officials, including the secretary of state at the time, Colin L. Powell, have reportedly said subsequently that they did not know about the decision ahead of time....

General McKiernan reportedly felt unhappy with Mr. Bremer’s plan to slowly build a new Iraqi Army from scratch, as were other American officers. In his farewell meeting with Mr. Bremer in June 2003, he urged him to “go bigger and faster” in fielding a new military.

Thus, as should now be clear, Bush lied and people died. We here at the Times are not exactly sure what he lied about or how those lies caused death and destruction; but there's an opportunity in here somewhere for anti-Bush sentiment to continue to mount ever higher... and by golly, we're pledged to bring such vital reported, potential contradictions to your attention, Mr. Reader!

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, September 4, 2007, at the time of 2:29 PM

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The following hissed in response by: David M

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 09/05/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

The above hissed in response by: David M [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 5, 2007 8:16 AM

The following hissed in response by: Don

"Just one "two-minutes hate" per day, that's all we ask!)"

My attention span isn't up to 2 minutes. Do you suppose the Editors of the Omnipotent New York Times would accept 2 'one-minute hates' per day? Or even 4 '30-second hates'? ;)

The above hissed in response by: Don [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 5, 2007 8:17 AM

The following hissed in response by: Big D

Why do I suspect that if we had kept the Iraqi army intact, Bush would be facing similar criticism now? "If only he had disbanded the Baathist army, we wouldn't be having all these problems right now. Mr. Bremer advised Mr. Bush to do so, but Bush refused, probably due to lies or a big payoff or something..."

The above hissed in response by: Big D [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 5, 2007 8:55 AM

The following hissed in response by: JohnSal

The meme involving the supposed tactical mistake of not reviving the Iraqi Army has always puzzled me. Iraq is a tribal society based on family, clan, tribe and religion, more or less in that order. So the criticism seems to be that Bush should have acted through an Iraq Army which shared none of these connections with the majority Shia and Kurd populations. Rather than preventing a civil war, a plan like that strikes me as being a sure fire recipe for igniting the civil war we don't actually have, since the most likely goal of the Army would have been to maintain tribal and Sunni dominance in the post-Saddam Iraq. Curious thinking.

The above hissed in response by: JohnSal [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 5, 2007 9:30 AM

The following hissed in response by: DaveR

The NYT rules for reporting on Bush policies:

1. If policy A is successful, report that his policy was actually B, but Bush was overridden because he is stupid.
2. If policy A. is unsuccessful, remind all that policy should have been B, but Bush stubbornly stuck to A because he is stupid.
3. Remind people how stupid Bush is.
4. Rinse, repeat.

The above hissed in response by: DaveR [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 6, 2007 6:29 AM

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