5,787. 4/15/2004

As reported by Reuters on August 23, 2004: “[I]n April 2004, when the White House was belatedly considering slightly revising its de-Baathification policy, [Iraqi National Congress leader] Ahmad Chalabi declared that this was akin to putting Nazis back in charge of Germany. He said it would endanger any new government and cause it to fall. In the temporary Iraqi Governing Council, Chalabi had also chaired a committee charged with keeping Baathists out of government. In essence, he had to clear potential government appointees. …Excising Baathists, particularly in a way that impugned their dignity, made enemies of the secular part of the Iraqi government, upon which the normal functioning government depended. …Then the mistake was compounded by a second blunder, in effect a coup de grace to any hopes for an organized transition in Iraq. [Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) leader L. Paul] Bremer signed the second edict of the CPA [on May 23, 2003], disbanding the army. …This decision brought even greater disbelief among Iraqis. …It created another few million enemies. With these two decisions, the United States had committed irreversible damage.” [The 15th of the month used for date sorting purposes only.]

 – Charles Duelfer, Hide and Seek, Pages 310-311

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