Tuesday, September 04, 2007

He said she said

One of the first things I learned in advertising was "CYA" -- document everything, every meeting, every discussion, every phone call... just in case. Because if the shit hits the fan, as it often does when people are making quick decisions, you need Evidence that you alone weren't responsible for the shitstorm. CYA, otherwise it's all "he said she said" and the guy with the documentation wins.

In 2003, the US made one pivotal decision in Iraq that arguably did more to exacerbate the insurgency than anything else (short of the actual invasion itself) -- inexplicably disbanding the Iraqi army. A standing army was handed pink slips ("Yer fired!"x 300,000) and sent home with their Kalashnikovs. Guys who knew where the weapons caches were, some with access to said caches, all suddenly unemployed and pissed off. The head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, Paul Bremer, is largely blamed for making this disastrous decision. Georgie maintains that it was a unilateral decision that he wasn't even aware of until afterwards.

Apparently Bremer knows a little about CYA, because he's countering Georgie's claim of ignorance with letters that he wrote proposing the decision to disband the army, and Bush's subsequent "Hey yeah okay, whatever" replies:

"WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 — 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.”"

Georgie now claims that he "can't remember" anything about this cataclysmically catastrophic decision. Can't remember??!!

"The policy was to keep the army intact; didn't happen," Bush told biographer Robert Draper in excerpts published in Sunday's New York Times. Draper pressed Bush to explain why, if he wanted to maintain the army, his chief administrator for Iraq, L. Paul Bremer III, issued an order in May 2003 disbanding the 400,000-strong army without pay. "Yeah, I can't remember; I'm sure I said, 'This is the policy, what happened?' " Bush said, adding: "Again, Hadley's got notes on all this stuff" -- a reference to national security advisor Stephen J. Hadley.

"He said she said", Georgie: the guy with the letters wins. Now, I ask you: is that enough? Can you impeach him yet?!