L. Paul Bremer

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L. Paul Bremer

Lewis Paul Bremer III, known simply as Paul Bremer or "Jerry" among his friends, (born September 30, 1941) was the U.S.-installed chief executive of Iraq following the Iraq War of 2003. In his role as head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, he reported only to the U.S. Secretary of Defense and exercised authority over coalition troops in Iraq and over the Iraqi government. He served from May 11, 2003 until June 28, 2004, when sovereignty over the country reverted to Iraqis.



Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Bremer was educated at Phillips Academy and at Yale University (earning a BA in 1963) and went on to earn a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University in 1967. That year he joined the Foreign Service as Officer General in Kabul, Afghanistan, later continuing his education at the Institut d'tudes politiques de Paris (more widely referred to as Sciences Po (http://tools.search.yahoo.com/language/translation/translatedPage.php?tt=url&text=http%3a//www.sciences-po.fr/&lp=fr_en&.intl=us)), where he earned a Certificate of Political Studies (CEP). He was also assigned in Blantyre, Malawi as Economic and Commercial Officer from 1968 to 1971. In addition to his native English, Bremer speaks Arabic, French, Dutch, Norwegian, Persian, German, and Spanish.

During the 1970s Bremer held various domestic posts with the State Department, including posts as assistant to Henry Kissinger from 1972-76. He was Deputy Chief of Mission in Oslo from 1976-79, returning stateside to take a post of Deputy Executive Secretary of State where he remained from 1979-81. In 1981 he became Executive Secretary and Special Assistant to Alexander Haig.

Ronald Reagan appointed Bremer as Ambassador to the Netherlands in 1983 and Ambassador-at-Large for Counterterrorism in 1986. Bremer retired from the Foreign Service in 1989 and became managing director at Kissinger and Associates, a worldwide consulting firm founded by Henry Kissinger. A Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, Ambassador Bremer received the State Department Superior Honor Award, two Presidential Meritorious Service Awards, and the Distinguished Honor Award from the Secretary of State. Before rejoining government in 2003, he was Chairman and CEO of Marsh Crisis Consulting, a risk and insurance services firm which is a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., a trustee on the Economic Club of New York (http://www.econclubny.com/), and a board member of Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., Akzo Nobel NV, the Harvard Business School Club of New York (http://hbscny.org/about_the_club.htm) and The Netherlands-America Foundation.

Ambassador Bremer was the founder and president of the Lincoln/Douglass Scholarship Foundation, a Washington-based not for profit organization that provides high school scholarships to inner city youths.

Bremer was appointed Chairman of the National Commission on Terrorism by House Speaker Dennis Hastert in 1999. He also served on the National Academy of Science Commission examining the role of Science and Technology in countering terrorism. In late 2001, along with former Attorney General Edwin Meese, Bremer co-chaired the Heritage Foundation's Homeland Security Task Force, which created a blueprint for the White House's Department of Homeland Security. For two decades Bremer has been a regular at Congressional hearings and is recognized as an expert on terrorism and internal security. Some of Bremer's published work includes "Warfare & Defence Military Science Alliance Response to Nuclear Weapons Proliferation", "The Alliance Response to Nuclear Weapons Proliferation: Deterrence, Defense, and Cooperative Options", and "Countering the Changing Threat of International Terrorism: Report from the National Commission on Terrorism" and a New York Times article "What I Really Said About Iraq".

Ambassador Bremer was awarded on December 14, 2004 the Presidential Medal of Freedom (http://www.medaloffreedom.com/PaulBremer.htm), America's highest civil award for "exceptional merit, integrity, and achievement" for his "pivotol role" in bringing about freedom and world peace.

Administrator of Iraq

Bremer arrived in Iraq as the U.S. Presidential Envoy in May 2003. In June, President Bush appointed Bremer the chief executive authority in the country as U.S. Administrator of Iraq. Unlike the retired U.S. Army general Jay Garner, Bremer is not a military man and therefore, brought political and diplomatic skills, which some had accused Garner and other military leaders of lacking. Though Garner's leadership was largely praised, Bremer's appointment was criticized by human rights groups, who note that while chairing the National Commission on Terrorism, Bremer advocated relaxation of CIA guidelines which since 1995 restricted working with terrorist spies or individuals and groups who have a record of human rights abuses. [1] (http://www.nixoncenter.org/publications/Program%20Briefs/vol6no19Bremer.htm)

As the top civil administrator of the former Coalition Provisional Authority, Bremer was tasked with a challenging job of overseeing the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq until the country was deemed to be in a state in which it can be self-governed. Faced with the complex task of paving the way to a multi-ethnic, democratic government in Iraq, while ensuring that a fundamentalist Islamic government or other dictatorial group or figure does not win control of the country, Bremer was empowered to issue decrees to modify Iraq's society and infrastructure. Some notable decrees have included removing all restrictions on freedom of assembly, suspending the use of the death penalty, banning human torture, and establishing a Central Criminal Court of Iraq. [2] (http://www.cpa-iraq.org/regulations/index.html)

Through his efforts to remove remnants of the former regime [3] (http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/2003/tr20030612-0269.html), Bremer was credited and later criticized for disbanding the former Iraqi Army. Critics claimed his extreme measures, which included the firing of thousands of school teachers and removing Ba'ath party members from top government positions, helped create an atmosphere of discontent among those who did not "fit in" with the socioeconomic profile the Americans were working with. As the insurgency grew stronger, so did the criticisms. Bremer was also in danger and heavily guarded. An attempt to assassinate the former administrator took place on December 6, 2003 when his convoy driving on the dangerous Baghdad airport road was attacked by rebels as he was returning to the fortified Green Zone.

On July 13, 2003 Bremer approved the creation of an Iraq Interim Governing Council as a way of "ensuring that the Iraqi people's interests are represented." The council members were appointed by Bremer, and were chosen from prominent political, ethnic, and religious leaders who had opposed Saddam Hussein. Though the council was given several important powers (such as the appointment of a cabinet), Bremer retained veto power over their proposals. Reportedly, his method of creating the Iraq Interim Governing Council was compared to that of "shepherding". Upon creation of the governing council, members held more public appearances and responsibilities thereafter.

The other major milestone was the development and approval of an interim constitution. On March 1, 2004 after several hours of negotiations, with Bremer acting as mediator, the Iraq Interim Governing Council resolved the disagreements the council members had with clauses written in the interim constitution. A formal signing ceremony was scheduled for that Friday, March 5, 2004. The stage was set and over 200 guests were present to witness the accomplishment of a major milestone. As the guests waited and the orchestra played, the signing was canceled due to objections by certain Shia members in the council, more notably by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, a prominent religious leader in Iraq. The official signing finally took place the following Monday, March 8, 2004.

On June 28, 2004 at 10:26 AM local time, the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority formally transferred sovereignty of Iraqi territory to the Iraqi interim government, two days ahead of schedule. Bremer departed from the country on the same day. In his farewell speech which was broadcast on Iraqi television, he said "I leave Iraq gladdened by what has been accomplished and confident that your future is full of hope. A piece of my heart will always remain here in the beautiful land between the two rivers with its fertile valleys, its majestic mountains and its wonderful people...."

Bremer's office was a division of the United States Department of Defense, and as Administrator he reported directly to the United States Secretary of Defense. His senior advisor Dan Senor served as coalition spokesman, working with military spokesman Mark Kimmitt.

Terrorism & Politics

Ambassador Bremer, allegedly a Roman Catholic, took the nickname Jerry, short for Jerome, a renown Bible translator and religious historian known today as St. Jerome[4] (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08341a.htm) his patron saint. While in Iraq, Bremer became famously known for wearing tan desert combat boots with his tailored suits. Other household words included Bremer Walls, ten-foot high concrete blast walls that protect buildings in Baghdad from car-bombings and the Bremer Dollar, a nickname used at the time when the new Iraqi dinar was first introduced. Just one day after reports of Paul Bremer's departure, Dar Al-Hayat (http://www.daralhayat.com/), a London based Arabic language newspaper, started a rumor that Ambassador Bremer (who by the way, happens to be married to the former Frances Winfield) left behind a young 35-year old Iraqi lover (http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/printer-friendly.asp?ARTICLE_ID=39236). The newspaper followed up with another article criticizing Bremer's administration of Iraq; adding both Bremer and his "Iraqi lover" are together happily writing "his diary (http://english.daralhayat.com/opinion/07-2004/Article-20040706-95ed8c66-c0a8-01ed-0004-aa02f208f034/story.html)". A more substantial story occurred on March 28, 2004 when the former administrator ordered a controversial Iraqi newspaper Al-Hawza (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/2004/07/18/international1038EDT0453.DTL) shut down for two months.

Since his return from Iraq, Bremer had been on a few speech tours. One speaking engagement he made on October 4, 2004 during a private conference held at a resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia started a media frenzy when an excerpt of Bremer's speech was released to the public, implying that lawlessness in Iraq might have been under better control by having more troops on the ground earlier on. It was reported, both a member of the White House staff and Condoleezza Rice, the National Security Advisor at the time, telephoned Bremer to clarify what he had said. This took place during the U.S. Presidential election, 2004. Bremer made public what he actually said about Iraq in his article published October 8, 2004 in the New York Times titled "What I Really Said About Iraq" (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/08/opinion/08bremer.html).

In January 2005, an official report by the inspector general for the reconstruction of Iraq, Stuart Bowen, cited by Time, stated that 9 billion dollars for the reconstruction of Iraq might have disappeared in frauds, corruption and other misbehaviour. On one particular salary register, only 602 names among 8206 could be verified. As another cited example, the Coalition Authority authorised Iraqi officials to postpone declaring the reception of 2,5 billions of dollars, which the provisiory government had received in spring through the Oil for Food program. [5] (http://edition.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/01/30/iraq.audit/) [6] (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1332676/posts)

Ambassador Bremer wrote an 8-page reply to deny the accusations. The elusive "Time" article revealed that during the IG's inquiry, Bowen's people refused to interview Bremer's deputies, and the IG's report failed to mention that Bremer and his people worked under extraordinary conditions, faced a high turnover rate, and had insufficient number of personnel to carry out their rebuilding and humanitarian relief efforts.

However, critics believe, as head of the CPA, Ambassador Bremer bears the overall responsibility for the very questionable hiring policies that led to his staff being dangerously inexperienced and unable to provide the oversight necessary to protect the funds they were administering.

This issue also became a topic of discussion during some of Bremer's Q&A sessions with students and activists who attended Bremer's presentations. Some questioned Bremer if he could have done things differently in Iraq, but were notably disappointed when Paul Bremer avoided answering the question. Bremer allegedly responded to one such question with I will tell you what I told them, I'm saving that for my book... I need more time to reflect.

See also

External links

de:Paul Bremer el:Πολ Μπρέμερ fr:Paul Bremer nl:Paul Bremer pl:Paul Bremer ja:ポール・ブレマー sv:Paul Bremer zh-cn:保罗·布雷默


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