Paul Bremer Talks A Good Story

by James Glaser
July 24, 2003

If a person never read the paper or watched American news about Iraq, Paul Bremer's speech at the National Press club on Wednesday would make you think everything was right on course in Iraq. Bremer, the US civilian administrator in Iraq, made it sound like we were on our way to elections and in no time at all, Iraq would join the community of world democracies.

Paul Bremer told those at the Press Club and the millions listening on Public Radio, that it was a happy day in Iraq today, because not only were all of the universities open for their students, but 90% of all schools were in session and every hospital in the country was now working. He went on to say that almost every city and town now has a city council and democracy was working.

What I found so hard to understand were the reports of just the last week where the university students being interviewed talked about how their schools had been looted of everything. They said there were no books, computers, light fixtures, plumbing or electricity. I guess you could still say the school was "open."

I haven't heard reports about the whole country, but Baghdad still only has electricity for portions of each day, the water is still not clean, and crime has never been this bad. When doctors have been interviewed they say that they have no medical equipment and medicine is in short supply. Running a hospital with the power turned off and unsafe drinking water tells us that Mr. Bremer fails to understand what it takes to say a hospital is working.

Many parents in Iraq are afraid to let their children out of their sight. Kidnappings are going on daily if news reports are to be believed. With crime in many cities at all time highs, is it any wonder that parents keep their children home and away from those schools that are open? Also like everything else, these schools were looted too.

I know when in Iraq Mr. Bremer has air-conditioning and fans, plus the man has running water to bath with. The American compound has its own source of power with portable diesel generators. Even our own troops now get only one shower a week and the temperature in Baghdad in over a hundred every day.

Think about living in that city with sporadic power. That means no refrigeration. Can you imagine what it smells like there with five million people not having indoor plumbing (it takes electricity to have running water) and because of the chaos and lack of government, no garbage pickup. Think about over 50% unemployment.

I enjoy a tall tale as much as the next guy, but not one coming from my government that is spending 1,000,000,000 dollars of tax money every week over there. I want the truth. Tell us what it is really like and what we have to do, what we have to repair, how good do we have to make Iraq before we can get our troops out of there.

I don't want some phony sugar coated report that makes things sound good, because a few hours after this talk at the Press Club it was announced that two more of our young men were killed over there and eight were wounded.

We are now debating if "tall tales" got us into this war, we don't need new ones to keep us there. The American people are tough and we can take the truth. You would think after all of these years of politicians lying and getting caught, they would quit it, but every new group thinks they are smart enough to get away with it.


Two US Soldiers were killed in separate attacks. One was on the outskirts of Mosul, the town we killed Saddam Hussein's sons in yesterday. A roadside bomb was exploded as a convoy went by killing one and wounding six.

The other Soldier was killed in the town of Ramadi. Two more Soldiers were wounded here along with several Iraqi bystanders. The nature of the attack was not reported.

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