No End In Sight. By: Molly Evelyn Hay. Casualities in Iraq Americans. Since war began (3/19/03): Total:4439 In combat:3503 Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03) Total:4300 In combat:3395. Since Handover (6/29/04): Total:350 In combat:2870 Since Obama Inauguration (1/20/09):
By: Molly Evelyn Hay
Since Operation New Dawn:
In combat: 9
The move, which disbanded the entire Iraqi military, defied the Bush administration’s consensus view that 150,000 home-grown troops would be necessary in occupying postwar Iraq, and caught the president off guard.
When Paul Bremer III, the White House envoy to Iraq, signed the second Coalition Provisional Authority order in May 2003, he changed the course of the war and fortunes of the Bush presidency with a stroke of his pen.
I’m sure I said, ‘This is the policy, what happened?’ ” What happened, as it developed, was certifiable disaster. By the summer, tens of thousands of now-unemployed armed Baathists—formerly lead by Saddam Hussein—lay siege to Coalition troops. Meanwhile, the country’s alienated Sunnis began to lash out at the Shiite majority in an increasingly violent manner, and the under-manned Coalition forces stood by helplessly as occupied Iraq slid into a horror show of roadside explosions, burning mosques, and bloodshed. “We didn’t spend a lot of time planning for . . . sectarian violence,”
By the end of 2006, 3,000 American soldiers had been killed in Iraq, and the president’s approval rating correspondingly tumbled into the 30s. The Democrats took over Congress and later the White House. The troop surge of 2007 may have saved Iraq. But had the Iraqi army remained in place in 2003, it would never have been necessary.
Prevented tens of thousands of Iraqis who were low-level party members—people who had joined to avoid police harassment or secure college admission for their children—from returning to their jobs in factories, in schools, in hospitals. Unlike in postwar Germany, the government was the principal employer in Iraq.
Paul Bremer III issued it on his fourth day in Iraq, over the objections of the CIA station chief. Written with input from Ahmad Chalabi and other exiles who promised that U.S. troops would be greeted with flowers, Coalition Provisional Authority Order No. 1 didn’t just ban high-level Baathists from top government jobs.
Overnight, legions of Iraqis found themselves without work and without the prospect of ever finding a decent job. Among them were 15,000 teachers. A week later, Bremer dissolved the Iraqi Army. The two decisions did more than anything else to transform the U.S. effort to rebuild the country into a bloody, chaotic mess.