03 September 2007

The "Decider" can't decide who decided

Or at least that seems to be the case for El Prez and the disbanding of the Iraqi army, now regarded as the single greatest blunder of the American occupation of Iraq. In an interview with biographer Robert Draper reported by the NYT Bush said “This group-think of ‘we all sat around and decided’ — there’s only one person that can decide, and that’s the president.” That's reassuring - it shows El Prez taking full responsibility for his policies, right or wrong. The "buck stops here" sort of attitude Americans like so much.

Then the effect is destroyed by this:

Mr. Bush acknowledged one major failing of the early occupation of Iraq when he said of disbanding the Saddam Hussein-era military, “The policy was to keep the army intact; didn’t happen.”

But when Mr. Draper pointed out that Mr. Bush’s former Iraq administrator, L. Paul Bremer III, had gone ahead and forced the army’s dissolution and then asked Mr. Bush how he reacted to that, Mr. Bush said, “Yeah, I can’t remember, I’m sure I said, ‘This is the policy, what happened?’ ”

Keeping the army intact was the policy, but someone decided on their own to break that policy, and Bush "can't remember?" I have to admit that I have become inured to tales of the Bush admin's incompetancy but this set me back on my heels. I don't know much about administration, but I am pretty sure that if any subordinate of mine directly contravened my stated policy I would have his head on a platter.

And I would remember it.

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