In Bremer's mind, the way to occupy Iraq was not to view it as a nation but as a group of minorities. So he pitted the minority that was not benefiting from the system against the minority that was, and then expected them both to be grateful to him. Bremer ruled Iraq as if it were already undergoing a civil war, helping the Shiites by punishing the Sunnis. He did not see his job as managing the country; he saw it as managing a civil war. So I accuse him of causing one. [Snip]There is a great deal more in the article that demonstrates that Bremer totally failed to understand Iraq.
Bremer claims that Iraqis hated their army at the time of the U.S. invasion. In fact, the army was the most nationalist institution in the country, one that predated the Baath Party. In electing not to fight U.S. forces, the army was expecting to be recognized by the occupation -- and indeed, until Bremer arrived, it appeared that many soldiers and officers were hoping to cooperate with the Americans.
Bremer is wrong to say that Shiites hated the Iraqi army. He treats Iraqis as if they were Hutus and Tutsis, claiming that "Shiite conscripts were regularly brutalized and abused by their Sunni officers." This is just not true. To be sure, Sunnis were overrepresented in the officer corps, and Shiites sometimes felt as if they faced a glass ceiling. But just as there were Shiite ministers under Hussein, there were also Shiite generals. At least a third of the famous deck of cards of Iraqi leaders most wanted by the Americans were Shiites.
So how could this be true since it is so far from what we have been told by the administration and by the reporters who have been to Iraq?
Bremer does not speak Arabic. That is what Rosen said. The following is my opinion of what else might account for the ignorance of the Bush administration.
The western reporters also do not speak Arabic (it is a difficult and time-consuming language to learn), and the editors do not publish stories that are far different from the going narrative. The Neocons who wanted the invasion of Iraq as far back as the early 90's do not speak Arabic, and the members of Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress were trying to manipulate America into invading Iraq and placing Ahmed Chalabi in power as the new head of state of Iraq. The INC members were manipulating the NeoCons. Beyond that, the dedicated Bushies in the White House do not listen to disagreements. Those who disagree simply are removed from any position of power in government.
Beyond even that, according to Seymour Hersh in his book "Chain of Command," after the end of the Cold War the CIA essentially ceased to run operatives in the Middle East. Intelligence gathering became a process of getting Intelligence from allied country Intelligence Agencies such as Mossad and comparing it to satellite data. Speaking and reading Arabic ceased to be a requirement for being an Intelligence Officer or Analyst in the Middle East. Then the Directorate of Operations was required to obtain high level approval from committees who had no knowledge iof the langauge or country before recruiting new spies or even keeping and paying existing spies. Walk-ins were actully turned away.
So the people who were making the decisions did not speak Arabic, the American Intelligence Agencies had no capability to either gather or analyze data on Iraq and the Middle East, and the American government was run by people who distrust academics and refuse to listen to disagreement, especially since they were committed to invading Iraq and felt that 9/11 gave them the only opportunity they would have.
Nir Rosen's explanation provides an explanation for the depth of disaster that we find ourselves in within Iraq. No other reasonable explanation comes even close.
Feel free to either disagree or to add supporting facts. I expect that latter, but would love to see the former.