The Highly Informative Hissy Fit of L. Paul Bremer III

We need shed no tears for Paul Bremer, the former satrap of Iraq who now claims that he was set up by the Pentagon as the "fall guy" for the Bush Regime's bloodsoaked folly in Iraq. No one put a gun to his head and forced him to take up the colonial overseer's baton, and if the Bushists, in their usual manner, used him up then spit him out, that's just too damn bad. Anyone who cast their lot with this wretched enterprise deserves everything they get, in spades.

But that doesn't mean that there isn't much useful information to be gleaned from Bremer's whiny new memoir, especially the insider confirmation that neither the Bush warmongers nor their corrupt Iraq collaborators ever had the slightest idea of what to do with the country once they ripped it to shreds – other than just loot it and kill people.

As the Financial Times puts it: "What emerges clearly from the diary is that there was no detailed postwar reconstruction plan, that the US lacked decent intelligence to deal with an insurgency it failed to predict, and the naivety of Americans who were shocked at the dismal state of Iraq’s economy and infrastructure after years of sanctions.

"Mr Bremer accuses Pentagon officials of setting him up to take the fall for the postwar failures in Iraq, even though the decision to disband the army was personally approved by Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy defence secretary, and cleared by Mr Rumsfeld and President George W. Bush….

"A Pentagon spokesman on Monday confirmed that Mr Bremer had sent Mr Rumsfeld a memo based on a report by the Rand Corporation consultancy that recommended 500,000 US troops would be needed to pacify Iraq – far more than were sent. But Mr Bremer’s advice was rejected by military leaders and Mr Rumsfeld."

In the time-honored fashion of bootlickers everywhere, Bremer hastens to heap praise on Bush personally – saving his ire for well-placed barbs at the murderous incompetence and bureaucratic hugger-mugger of Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith and other masters of disaster. Yet at the same time, the hapless viceroy is desperately trying to signal that the final responsibility for the FUBAR fiasco lies with the dimbulb in the Oval Office. It's not my fault, Bremer screams through the lines on every page: I vas only following the orders of mein Fuhrer!

There is of course an egregious amount of butt-covering in all of this. Bremer presents himself as a gosh-darn good egg who just wanted to do what's right but ended up as the tragic victim of vicious circumstances. Yet the fact is that Bremer played a key role in creating those circumstances, and at every point assidiously carried out his primary duty: laying open the ruined nation to the rapacious appetities of Bush's corporate cronies. He is, to put it bluntly, a war criminal like the rest of them, although he would perhaps be ranged with the second tier of defendants in that new Nuremberg Tribunal of our dreams.

But even butt-coverers can tell the truth – inadvertantly, letting bits of it poke out from behind their comfy quilt of rationalization and justification. And Bremer's hissy fit confirms once more that the ultimate responsibility for this illegal invasion of Iraq – and all the stomach-churning horrors that have followed in its wake – does indeed lie with the tinpot tyrant in the White House: George Widowmaker Bush.