Bremer on Iraq

BREMER ON IRAQ….On Dateline last night, Paul Bremer confirmed something that he briefly alluded to last year: we never had enough troops on the ground to keep order in Iraq, and both George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld knew it.

Bremer said he sent a memo to Rumsfeld suggesting that half a million soldiers would be needed, three times the number deployed by the Bush administration.

“I never had any reaction from him,” the former diplomat told NBC’s Brian Williams on “Dateline.”

Although he never heard back from his direct boss, Bremer said he discussed his concerns with Bush, who told him he would seek troops from other countries, but did not mention increasing U.S. forces.

Now, Bremer is trying to sell his new book, and he’s also trying to make sure that other people take the blame for screwing up the occupation. Still, that half million number is pretty stunning. It’s one thing to tell your boss you need more troops, but it’s quite another to tell him you need three times as many as you have. That’s the kind of warning that really ought to make someone sit up and listen, and if Bremer is on the level here it means that Rumsfeld and Bush screwed the pooch even worse than we thought ? something I’m not sure I would have thought possible until now.

Of course, Bremer’s statement makes it all the more odd that he allowed the Iraqi army to disband shortly after he took over. His explanation? “We really didn’t see the insurgency coming.” Sounds like everyone screwed the pooch here.