Way back in February, L. Paul Bremer, III, the top U.S. administrator in Iraq from May, 2003 to June, 2004, whistlestopped through Colorado Springs to promote his book, My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope.
In an interview with the Colorado Springs Independent, Bremer deemed those who were demanding a timetable for the end of the war – including some members of Congress – misguided.
“I think the biggest mistake we could make would be to pull out before the Iraqis are prepared fully to defend themselves,” Bremer said. “I talk to Iraqi leaders all the time. There isn’t a single Iraqi leader who believes that they are ready to defend themselves yet. They’re making a lot of progress, but they’re not there yet. … It is certainly going to be measured in years, not months.”In addition, Bremer said he believes the United States has made huge strides in Iraq.
“They’ve created a very progressive constitution that establishes a balance of power in government, enumerates a very broad list of protected human and individual rights – freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion and so forth –and re-establishes the rule of law in Iraq,” Bremer said.
Flash forward 10 months. On Dec. 26, ABC reported at least 36 Iraqis died in bombings, including a coordinated attack in western Baghdad that killed 25 people and injured at least 55.
In addition, the deaths of three U.S. soldiers on Dec. 26 and another three killed on Christmas the day before, pushes the U.S. military death toll in Iraq to at least 2,978 – exceeding the number of people killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
Cara DeGette is a longtime editor and columnist with the Colorado Springs Independent.