And Why Scholars Need to Learn the Full Truth
It is very important to note here and in response to some Bush Administration officials’ past comments, that all evidence suggests that the vast majority of Iraqi security forces were willing to return to work and join the U.S. in maintaining peace and stability in Iraq (Gordon and Trainor 2006: 479-485; Ricks 2006: 161; Tenet 2007: 429; Sanchez 2008: 176; et al.). The claim that the Iraqi Army had disbanded and had no intention of returning is completely contradictory to the evidence on hand. Most Iraqi security personnel followed U.S. orders to walk away and lay low until the initial combat operations were successful. This, in all likelihood, saved thousands if not tens of thousands of American lives. Once major ground operations finished, the Iraqi military personnel expected to return to duty. In fact, there were numerous accounts of Iraqi security personnel approaching U.S. military officials in Iraq and expressing their desire to return to work according to the terms laid down by the U.S. (Gordon and Trainor 2006: 479-485; Ricks 2006: 161; Tenet 2007: 429; Sanchez 2008: 176; et al.). The Bush Administration, however, decided to ignore its previous declarations and promises and declared Orders 1 and 2. It is important to emphasize that not one Bush Administration official ever asked or told the Iraqi forces to return to work after “Mission Accomplished” (Bremer 2006; Feith 2008; Bush 2010; et al.). The Bush Administration pretended that the Iraqis had dissolved their forces and handed themselves pink slips. No Bush Administration official to this day will claim that they publicly asked the Iraqi forces to return to work and, then, none of them ever returned. It is a very important point of description and explanation. No one ever made the request and, thus, the memo, so to speak, was deliberately tossed into the trash can—as was, the entire Iraq policy that had been declared originally to the public.
The fact that to this day no one in the Bush Administration is willing to say that they actually asked the Iraqi forces to return is testament in itself. It suggests that the Bush Administration may never have had the intention of fulfilling its end of the bargain and had always expected to fire the Iraqi security personnel once major combat operations had ended and the U.S. controlled Baghdad. The sad reality that officials continue to this day pretending that the Iraqis fired themselves from their jobs and paychecks is quite astounding since there is no evidence whatsoever that the Iraqis refused to return to work. This point is very critical since it suggests that the highest U.S. officials may have had every intention from the beginning to carry out a comprehensive revolution in Iraq and not just the publicly stated goal of removing only the few highest level Ba’athist Party members. If this is true, then not only does this encompass mass deception but it also raises an entirely new line of questions regarding international law and previous justifications for the Iraq War. It furthermore highlights a very important question as to how any future U.S. government will have any credibility whatsoever in a next war in which the U.S. government calls on enemy forces to submit before battle. With the Iraqi betrayal and subsequent revolution at all levels of Iraqi society in mind, it is now much less likely that any future enemy force or leadership will listen to the U.S. for fear that any limited goals declared by the U.S. are really a cover for all-out revolution. If future enemies no longer believe that the U.S. is only intent on removing the highest level leaders and culprits, then the enemy will more likely remain fully intact and the U.S. will have to face an entire force that may fight to the death instead of a much smaller cadre of the most loyal forces to the enemy regime. If this happens, then it may result in many more American lives possibly being lost as a result of the Bush Administration’s decision to betray the Iraqis and its own stated military and political objectives. To this day, no one has discussed the future consequences of Orders 1 and 2 beyond the Iraq War.
In the end, CPA Orders 1 and 2 were tantamount to revolution in Iraq and a complete violation of the publicly stated Bush Administration policy objectives before the war. They led to a mass insurgency and a very costly American occupation in Iraq. They greatly undermined the U.S.’s leadership and credibility throughout the world. And, they raised some very critical issues of how democratic and accountable the U.S. government really is. The fact that all of the Bush Administration officials involved with Orders 1 and 2, particularly Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld, have constantly dodged the issue suggests that they may greatly fear the consequences of a conclusive answer—even years after leaving office. They clearly would like this is issue to fade quietly into history unanswered and eventually forgotten, which may be more than enough testimony of how much they fear the issue. Nevertheless, scholars need to discover why the big three and their subordinates have not acknowledged their responsibility for authorizing Orders 1 and 2? Why have they been so fearful? Why was 60 Minutes shocked that no high-level discussions ever took place before the issuance of Orders 1 and 2? These are some of the biggest questions still to be answered, yet many scholars and the media have almost completely missed the boat—and, inadvertently played right into the hands of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld. It is absolutely essential that we obtain the answer to this significant question. There is still time left.
CPA Orders 1 and 2 were drastic changes to a sound policy that had been advocated originally to the American public. Whether or not people supported the Iraq War, most people wanted Saddam Hussein and his top appointees to be removed. CPA Orders 1 and 2 went well beyond the limited goals presented to the public and world community. The U.S. has taken on huge casualties and costs as a result of CPA Orders 1 and 2, yet no one to this day can explain who changed the policy. Where are the big three on this issue? Who is ultimately accountable? One could suggest that, officially, it was Rumsfeld to say the least, since he was Defense Secretary and, thus, head of the U.S. military’s occupational command, as well as Bremer’s and Feith’s superior, and, then, afterwards Cheney and Bush are next in line. Given Rumsfeld’s entire relationship and history with Cheney and his official subordination to at the time, it is highly unlikely that Rumsfeld would have acted alone and without the knowledge and approval of Cheney. If so, then the question next for scholars is when exactly did the President know of the orders, let alone the plan to draft them? Notwithstanding the evidence and testimony, once Order 1 was issued on May 16, 2003, all three political leaders could have immediately intervened and put a halt to the order. And, they could easily have stopped Order 2 from being issued one week later on May 23, 2003. To this day, none of the big three has explained why they acted as they did. The silence suggests fear and, potentially, past deception. As a result, if scholars and the public do not hold the U.S.’s top leadership accountable for the Orders 1 and 2, then it opens up the door for future similar actions and results. It also would be a great disservice to all military personnel, scholars, and the country as a whole to allow three American leaders to escape their political responsibilities and not explain in full detail their actions on these two orders. It does not appear to be asking too much for Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld to finally come clean on this issue and own up to their political decision. A simple yes or no would be a good start. “Yes, I (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld) officially authorized CPA Orders 1 and 2.”
Overall, this paper argues that the most important question of the Iraq War and Occupation should be asked to Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld every time they are seen: Who officially authorized CPA Orders 1 and 2? Sooner or later, they will answer the simple question or be perceived as deceptive and, possibly, cowards and weaklings—which may say enough and, at least, become part of the historical record. Either way, the message will be very clear to all Americans, let alone the world, that this type of behavior should never be allowed to happen again without a major public debate and official responsibility. Operation Trinity should commence. Scholars, journalists, and the public should seek out the last remaining critical question to the Iraq War and Occupation. They should put Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld to the fire and ask them the one question they seem to fear most: Who officially authorized CPA Orders 1 and 2? It is the least that one can do for the hundreds of thousands of Americans, Iraqis, and others who have suffered and died because of two simple and extremely misguided orders that were never approved by the American public and the international community.
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