"I also want to say how proud I am of the work my good friend Jay Garner and the people who are working for him, how proud I am of everything they have done here in the last couple of weeks under extraordinary circumstances," [L. Paul Bremer III] said after arriving in Basra.
He said he wanted to "pay public tribute to Jay and all of his people for the great job they have done."
Bremer said former U.S. ambassador Barbara Bodine, who was coordinator for central Iraq, including Baghdad, within the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, was being reassigned back to Washington by the State Department "for their own reasons."
Bremer, 61, is a former assistant to former Secretaries of State William P. Rogers and Henry Kissinger. He was ambassador-at-large for counterterrorism from 1986 to 1989, and he also has served as U.S. ambassador to Holland. He most recently has been chairman of the Marsh Crisis Consulting firm.
Bremer reports directly to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. Gen. Tommy Franks, the Central Command chief, remains in charge of all U.S. and allied forces in Iraq and the region.
Further evidence of how Defense is trumping State — not that Garner and Bodine were especially intelligent choices in the first place, as pointed out here (Garner) and here (Bodine).
Wondering how Bremer got the gig? A public presidential blow job might have lubricated the way. This Kissinger crony and Reagan worshipper is moving his lips with a vast amount of sycophantic energy, as witnessed by his remarks in March 2003 in the New York Times:
...Europeans call the American President a "cowboy" blundering into an "unnecessary war" with Iraq. But like Reagan before him, this President [has] a clearer worldview than his critics.
For a year and half, with remarkable clarity President Bush has laid out his understanding of the threat posed by a new breed of terrorists. These Islamic extremists are motivated by a burning hatred of all things western — not just the superficialities of the West, our films, magazines and culture, but the very foundations of our societies — the separation of Church and State, universal suffrage, women's education, a free press and trade unions. To understand their vision of an ideal society, one need look no further than the hideous Taliban regime.
As this administration attacks the very same foundations of our society that the "extremists" are accused of attacking, it selects another zealot against Islamic zealotry — too dense not to confuse Hussein with bin Laden — and sets Bremer loose in newly conquered lands of the Middle East.
It probably didn't hurt that
L. Paul Bremer: "Star Wars will save you from Osama bin Laden"Bremer authored a 2002 Heritage Foundation study entitled "Defending the American Homeland" that prioritizes domestic security interests. Examples: Infrastructure: "Priority #4: Enhance the private sector’s role in infrastructure protection." Intelligence and Law Enforcement: "Priority #2: Rapidly improve information-gathering capabilities at all levels of government." The task force for the study, "chaired by Ambassador L. Paul Bremer and former attorney general Edwin Meese III, reviewed the homeland security proposals in circulation and created a set of priority recommendations for preventing and responding effectively to potential terrorist attacks on the American homeland."
Now, I’m not second-guessing a former Attorney General (that would be Mr. Meese, for all you Gen Xers; he served under Reagan) on policy, but from an analytical point of view, this is scary stuff. Solutions include more surveillance and drastically improved civil defense. It’s a strange mix of horrific language ("an all-source, Federal level, information fusion center") and one bleak possibility. For 170-plus e-pages, what you get is this message: "Spend this money this way, or lots of you will die. Implement these programs, or lots of you will die. Use our military this way, or lots of you will die. Beef up this part of our infrastructure, or lots of you will die."
Tragically, these self-misled homeland security "experts," supposedly insulating our collective future against suitcase bomb and bioweapon attacks, are actually more willing to spend the money on Star Wars missile defense systems.
And the ironies accumulate. In this age of Bush-crony corporate malfeasance, Bremer's day job is supposedly as an expert in corporate governance, which, in Bremer's Orwellian doublespeak, actually means "strikebreaking":
When a massive labor strike threatens a company's ability to achieve its financial goals or even survive, Management needs to be ready to manage that challenge with a comprehensive, fully integrated Crisis Readiness program.
Postwar Iraq report card: Bodine: F. Garner: F. Bremer: Too soon to tell, but our bet is on F.