Memo from Paul Bremer to Condi Rice
(Note: I cannot divulge how this revealing memo came into my hands.)
Date: October 13, 2003
I read the U.S. papers daily. While civil enough, they plainly tell us that if we leave Baghdad we shall forever be infamous. They also say that if we do not take the lead and keep it, dragging the other powers after us in chains, we are n.g. and Bush will be beaten next November. It never seems to occur to them that the other powers may not like the feel of a rope around their necks and may even want to say something about their interests in Iraq.
It all sums up to this: we shall get no credit whatever we do. Our friends will take it as a matter of course, and our critics will kick us all around the lot. Nothing was clearer than that the whole country would have risen up in uproar if we had sat on our hands. And now that we seem to be agreeing with the UN, “following her lead,” as the papers say, they are kicking like steers. If it turns out that we fail to get our way at the UN, we shall be abused as wobbling and vacillating. So there is nothing for it but to do as near right as we can, and leave the consequences to the newspapers.
The dilemma is clear enough. We want to get out at the earliest possible moment. We do not want to have the appearance of being forced out or frightened out, and we must not lose our proper influence in the final arrangement. If we exit Iraq and leave the nation to England, who unquestionable has already made her own bargain with the natives, we will not only seem to have been beaten, but we run the serous risk of being really frozen out. Germany and France will feel vindicated and will take even less notice of our interests, and Russia will sell us out without winking. You share, it seems, my grave suspicions about the attitude of the British. There is not, therefore, a single power we can rely on for our policy of plunder.
Anxious, therefore, as I am to get away from Baghdad, I cannot help fearing that if we retire without UN support it will end in the unfortunate consequences so direly predicted in the papers. The UN will fall back on her non possumus if we try to make separate terms with England, who by superior brute selfishness will have her way, and we shall be left out in the cold.
Has the president come to any conclusions about Rumsfeld? And did he see Meet the Press on Sunday and how Lugar supported him? We ought to pay all civility to Biden, who appeared on the same program. He is an unmitigated scoundrel, of course, thoroughly corrupt and treacherous. But he represents the opposition and we must deal with him; and it is certain that it has been hitherto to our advantage to succor him, as if we trusted him.
Above all, don’t let the press intimidate you into a cowering position. Somehow we’ll get out of this mess.
October 13, 2003
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com. He is currently finishing his latest book, Why I Stopped Listening to Rush: Confessions of a Recovering Neocon.