Sunday, February 26, 2006

'My Year in Iraq,' by L. Paul Bremer III - The New York Times Book Review - New York Times

'My Year in Iraq,' by L. Paul Bremer III - The New York Times Book Review - New York Times: "Bremer turned to Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top American commander in Iraq, and asked him what he would do with two more divisions, as many as 40,000 more troops. General Sanchez did not hesitate to answer. 'I'd control Baghdad,' he said. Bremer then mentioned some other uses for the soldiers, like securing Iraq's borders and protecting its infrastructure, to which General Sanchez replied: 'Got those spare troops handy, sir?'
This is a jaw-dropping scene, and probably in ways that Bremer did not intend. To nearly anyone who spent time in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, it was scandalously obvious that the American military, for all its prowess, lacked sufficient numbers of soldiers to bring the country under control. Iraqis knew it. American officers, beneath their breath, often said it. A two-mile drive on the road to Baghdad International Airport, the scene of daily suicide attacks, confirmed it.
Yet for most of the 14 months that Bremer oversaw the occupation, he and his aides, and General Sanchez and his, often seemed the only people in Iraq who refused to acknowledge the anarchy in the streets. Though confronted by the growing guerrilla insurgency and the brazen behavior of armed militias, Bremer and other senior American officials routinely batted down any suggestion that they needed more soldiers. "

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