Not many pundits have been willing to defend Paul Bremer's decision to disband the Iraqi army. Fred Barnes ploughs a lonely furrow on this one. He gets some support today from boots-on-ground reporter Mark Bowden in the Wall St Journal. After spending time with a US officer's re-trained, re-invigorated Iraqi unit, Bowden comes to the conclusion that the old officer corps, corrupt and unreliable, needed to be dissolved:

If Maj. Lechner's experience is typical, then retaining the old force would have just created a whole different set of problems, and might well have further set back efforts to create a flexible, effective Iraqi army. Solving the problem in the 7th Battalion ultimately required rooting out nearly all of those officers who had served under the old regime.

"Even officers from the old army who are trustworthy fail to have the skills necessary to conduct operations effectively and seemed unable to learn or apply instruction given to them," Maj. Lechner wrote. "The majority of the officers of the old army are ineffective at best and a true cancer at worst..."
|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2005/02/sword-of-honour-not-many-pundits-have.html|||2/08/2005 02:06:00 pm|||||||||