The parallels are striking. For decades, both dictators had been labeled terrorists by U.S. administrations, Republican as well as Democratic. For decades, each man had brutally oppressed his own citizens, often using cynical methods to exacerbate tribal and sectarian divisions. Gaddafi was found in a sewer pipe; Hussein was captured in a spider hole. Sic semper tyrannis.
The capture or death of a dictator can help close a curtain on a long period of tyranny. But consolidating such a huge political change has not been easy in Iraq, and it won’t be easy in Libya, either. Iraq's experience suggests that success will hinge on addressing three urgent issues during this transition....
But the dictator’s capture did not solve Iraq’s security problems. The positive impact of his incarceration was soon canceled out by a large Sunni uprising in Anbar province and a simultaneous Shiite attack on three provincial capitals in southern Iraq. At the time, the United States lacked both the appropriate strategy and adequate forces to respond effectively to these challenges, a situation that was eventually corrected by President George W. Bush’s courageous troop surge in 2007.
But, but ... Iraq had an Army, right? Nah! I think somebody dismantled that one. Except he said he did not, really.
Read in full here. You have permission to excuse yourself if you need to use the vomitorium.
If you don't remember Paul Bremer, that makes two of us. Such a bummer when you suffer from a short memory fuse on our debacle in Iraq. Anyway, I had to Google this one. It turns out that Paul Bremer in full is Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III. He was appointed by George W. Bush as presidential envoy to Iraq from May 2003 to June 2004 and is the author of some book about spending a hopey year in Iraq. He was a career diplomat, one of ours .... sigh ....
Readers of WaPo who remember this guy just fine were understandably a tad confused. One predicted what's up at WaPo -- "Coming next week, advice on living a dignified life from Charlie Sheen." Another asked, "Paul Bremer? Really? He's like the George Costanza of policy advisors."