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[casi] Ah, Ambassador Bremer. You seem a bit stressed.

Welcome back to the White House, Ambassador Bremer.  You seem a bit stressed.
Apologies for the urgent summons, but I trust your trip was pleasant?

No mortar rounds into the Green Zone as you walked to the Bradley?  Good.
No roadside bombs on the drive to Baghdad International?  What a relief.
No heat-seekers to dodge after takeoff?  Splendid!

Before we meet the President, Mr. Ambassador, a word to the wise: “November.”
Elections there before elections here.  “November,” Mr. Ambassador.

We need an exit plan, and we need you firmly on board.  No talk of “nation
building”.  No more “hearts and minds”. No more “seven point plan to build the
infrastructure for democracy”. What in the name of McNamara were you thinking?

U.S. elections are a year away.  We need an out. The time for dissent is over.

Yes, I know you’re closer to the situation than anyone here.  But the Oval’s
perspective is broader, and after all, we can send you packing quicker than you
can say “Jay Garner”.  “November,” Mr. Ambassador

We know the carpetbaggers on the Governing Council couldn’t agree on lunch. We
don’t care.  We know the Council’s private militias may soon sort themselves
out, and devil take the hindmost. So be it.  We know the UN’s Oil-for-Food
program ended on November 21st, and responsibility for Iraq’s twenty-three
million people is now ours.

I hope to god we’re up to the task.

We know that terror threatens aid and militarizes the occupation, which
alienates the population, which builds sympathy for the insurgents, which
encourages terror. The Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds play us like paper, scissors,
and rock.  It’s an endless spiral that quacks like a quagmire, and I blame it
directly on Cheney and Rumsfeld and Perle.

But we must be out by November, Mr. Ambassador, and Charlie don’t vote.

So here’s the plan:  The Governing Council will draft rules for provincial
council elections.  Provincial councils will elect a transitional legislature.
The transitional legislature will appoint a provisional executive council.
We’ll grant the executive council sovereignty, and the constitution will come

Clear as mud, and cross your fingers that Sistani plays along.  Don’t tell me
it’s crazy and don’t say it won’t work. It’s policy. It’s your job.

Just keep the lid on.  We’re running Iron Hammer near Falluja, we’re bombing
north Baghdad, we’re bulldozing olive groves and homes, the Red Cross has fled
and our prisons are unwatched.  We might hire a few old Baathists, including the
former Defense Minister Sultan Hashim, the Eight of Hearts in the wanted deck.
He may feel right at home.

Soon the Council will hold the reins, Iraq’s former generals will general, its
former police will police, and the paramilitaries will pound the dissidents into
the sand.

Our troops will still be there, Mr. Ambassador, but the profile will be lower.
Their heroism and their deaths will be on page seven, not page one.  We’ll have
our bases to replace those lost in Saudi.

And you’ll be coming home, Paul.  Colin’s had enough, and his job is yours if
you want.  The in-fighting at State is fierce but it’s seldom lethal.  Ha ha. In
writing?  Well, yes, I suppose we could.

A public flogging for Cheney and Rumsfeld and Perle?  Unattainable fantasy, I’m
afraid, but there’s always the Belgian courts.  I know you don’t feel right
about the promotion, but come on.  You worked for Kissinger.  You checked your
pride at the door 10 years ago.

So spare me your sanctimony, Paul, and have a safe return to Baghdad.  Perhaps
you can sleep briefly over the Atlantic.  Yes, I’ll join you in praying for the
Iraqi people, Mr. Ambassador, and in praying for our troops and in praying for
the President.  And I’m certain he’ll join me in praying for your continued good
luck with the Council, and the militias, and the missiles, and the roadside
bombs, and the mortars.

And I’ll see what I can do about the Belgian courts.

Drew Hamre
Golden Valley, MN USA

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