Were the Americans wrong to disband the Iraqi army after the fall of Saddam? Although Fred Barnes and a few others believe the decision was sound, the consensus increasingly seems to be that it was a huge mistake. Roger L. Simon gets a dissenting, first-hand view during his meeting with the bloggers of Iraq The Model:

"Because I have never been to Iraq, speak no Arabic, never have been in the Army, etc., unlike others, I have never had a strong opinion on this issue. I simply do not consider myself qualified. But I have to say I was surprised at the response to the question. Omar, the younger brother, all of twenty-four but waaay wise beyond his years, simply laughed and said it would have been impossible. There was no way we could have kept the Iraqi Army together even if we had wanted to. The Iraqi Army, hugely underpaid conscripts who hated what they were doing, had already dissolved before we got to Baghdad. No one wanted any part of it. There was no Iraqi Army to preserve. We had to start all over again - which we have... eventually.

"So there you have it - that issue according to one Iraqi anyway. Believe him if you wish. I weight his opinion at least more highly than my own."

UPDATE: Fareed Zakaria - certainly no blind optimist about the prospects for spreading democracy around the world - sees hopeful signs in the run-up to Iraq's elections. (Via Harry's Place):

"Iraq remains unstable and highly unsafe. But if al-Zarqawi is reading the public's mood right, the insurgency is losing popular support."
|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2004/12/ex-army-were-americans-wrong-to.html|||12/15/2004 01:07:00 pm|||||||||