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Lewis Paul Bremer III (born September 30, 1941), also nicknamed Jerry Bremer, is an American diplomat. He is most notable for being the U.S. Administrator of Iraq charged with overseeing the reconstruction of Iraq. In his role as head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, he reported primarily to the U.S. Secretary of Defense and exercised authority over Iraq's civil administration. He served in this capacity from May 11, 2003 until limited Iraqi sovereignty was restored on June 28, 2004.

Early life

Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Bremer was educated at New Canaan Country School and Phillips Academy. Bremer's father was president of the Christian Dior Perfumes Corporation in New York. His mother was a lecturer in art history at the University of Bridgeport. Bremer graduated from Yale University in 1963 and went on to earn an MBA from Harvard University in 1966. He later continued his education at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, where he earned a Certificate of Political Studies (CEP).

That same year he joined the Foreign Service, which sent him first to Kabul, Afghanistan, as a general officer. He was assigned to Blantyre, Malawi, as economic and commercial officer from 1968 to 1971.

During the 1970s, Bremer held various domestic posts with the State Department, including posts as an assistant to Henry Kissinger from 1972–76.[1] He was Deputy Chief of Mission in Oslo from 1976–79, returning to the US to take a post of Deputy Executive Secretary of the Department of State, where he remained from 1979–81. In 1981, he was promoted to Executive Secretary and Special Assistant to Alexander Haig.

Ronald Reagan appointed Bremer as Ambassador to the Netherlands in 1983 and Ambassador-at-Large for Counterterrorism in 1986[2] (and Coordinator for Counterterrorism). Bremer retired from the Foreign Service in 1989 and became managing director at Kissinger and Associates, a worldwide consulting firm founded by Henry Kissinger. A Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, Bremer received the State Department Superior Honor Award, two Presidential Meritorious Service Awards, and the Distinguished Honor Award from the Secretary of State. Before rejoining government in 2003, he was Chairman and CEO of Marsh Crisis Consulting, a risk and insurance services firm which is a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., a trustee on the Economic Club of New York,[3] and a board member of Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., Akzo Nobel NV, the Harvard Business School Club of New York[4] and The Netherlands-America Foundation. He served on the International Advisory Boards of Komatsu Corporation and Chugai Pharmaceuticals.

Bremer was appointed Chairman of the National Commission on Terrorism by House Speaker Dennis Hastert in 1999. He also served on the National Academy of Science Commission examining the role of Science and Technology in countering terrorism. Bremer and his wife were the founders of the Lincoln/Douglass Scholarship Foundation, a Washington-based not-for-profit organization that provides high school scholarships to inner city youths.

On the day Al-Qaeda terrorists crashed two hijacked American commercial jetliners into the World Trade Center in New York City, Bremer and 1,700 of his employees at Marsh & McLennan had offices in both towers. Bremer's office was in the South Tower. He and his people occupied floors at and "above where the second aircraft hit."[5] At the time of his television interview with CNN on September 14, 2001, 450 of his colleagues were unaccounted for; 295 were eventually counted as dead.[6]

Three hours after a commercial airliner crashed into the South Tower, Bremer appeared for a televised interview. As a leading counter-terrorist expert, Bremer offered his opinion on what will likely happen and pinpointed Osama bin Laden as the terrorist leader responsible for the attack.[7]

In late 2001, along with former Attorney General Edwin Meese, Bremer co-chaired the Heritage Foundation's Homeland Security Task Force, which created a blueprint for the White House's Department of Homeland Security. For two decades Bremer has been a regular at Congressional hearings and is recognized as an expert on terrorism and internal security. Some of Bremer's published work includes "Warfare & Defence Military Science Alliance Response to Nuclear Weapons Proliferation", "The Alliance Response to Nuclear Weapons Proliferation: Deterrence, Defense, and Cooperative Options", and "Countering the Changing Threat of International Terrorism: Report from the National Commission on Terrorism", a New York Times article "What I Really Said About Iraq", and his first book, "My Year In Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope".

Personal life

Bremer is married to author Frances Winfield, with whom he has two adult children and four grandchildren. He received an honorary doctor of law from Ave Maria University, June 19, 2005. He has competed in triathlons and in marathons. Other sports activities including hiking, cycling and snow skiing. Originally an Episcopalian, he and his wife converted to Catholicism in 1994. His wife described Bremer as "a man of great personal faith", while Bremer stated: "There is no doubt in my mind that I cannot succeed in this mission without the help of God. ... The job [as administrator of Iraq from May 11, 2003 to June 28, 2004] is simply too big and complex for any one person, or any group of people to carry out successfully. ... We need God's help and seek it constantly." Paul Bremer was given the nickname "Jerry" after the Church father Saint Jerome, whom Bremer also named as his patron saint.

Some of Paul Bremer's personal interests include gourmet French cooking. He was teaching cooking classes in Vermont before he was shipped off to Iraq.[8] From his extensive travels throughout the world, Bremer has mentioned in an interview that his favorite cuisines include French and Chinese cuisines. He is also interested in gardening, and he owns a vegetable garden. He captures New England landscapes in oil.[9] Bremer held his first gallery exhibit at "the Framery of Vermont in Bellows Falls" in September 2008. His original oil paintings were being sold for $200 to $450. Sales proceeds were donated to the Chester Historical Society.

Governor of Iraq

Bremer arrived in Iraq as the U.S. Presidential Envoy in May 2003 and May 11 replaced lieutenant general Jay Garner as Director of the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance. In June, the Office was transformed into the Coalition Provisional Authority and Bremer, as U.S. Administrator of Iraq, became the chief executive authority in the country.[10][11]

As the top civil administrator of the former Coalition Provisional Authority, Bremer was tasked with the challenging job of overseeing the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq until the country was deemed to be in a state in which it could be self-governed. He was empowered to issue decrees to modify Iraq's infrastructure, including such notable decrees as removing all restrictions on freedom of assembly, suspending the use of the death penalty, upholding Saddam Hussein's union laws, and establishing a Central Criminal Court of Iraq.[12] Pre-war and post-war contingencies were different from what actually took place.

Bremer signs over limited sovereignty to Iraq's interim government, June 28, 2004

On July 13, 2003, Bremer approved the creation of an Iraqi Interim Governing Council as a way of "ensuring that the Iraqi people's interests are represented." The council members were chosen from prominent political, ethnic, and religious leaders who had opposed Saddam Hussein. Bremer retained veto power over the council's proposals. The council was authorized to select a limited number of delegates to key Coalition Provisional Authority committees, like the Program Review Board.

The other major milestone was the development and approval of an interim constitution. On March 1, 2004 after several hours of negotiations, with Bremer acting as mediator, the Iraqi Interim Governing Council resolved the disagreements the council members had with clauses written in the interim constitution. A formal signing ceremony was scheduled for that Friday, March 5, 2004. The stage was set and over 200 guests were present to witness the accomplishment of a major milestone. As the guests waited and the orchestra played, the signing was canceled due to objections by certain Shia members in the council, most notably by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, a prominent religious leader in Iraq. The official signing finally took place the following Monday, March 8, 2004.

On June 28, 2004 at 10:26 AM local time, the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority formally transferred limited sovereignty of Iraqi territory to the Iraqi Interim Government, two days ahead of schedule. Bremer departed from the country on the same day. In his farewell speech broadcast on Iraqi television, he said, "I leave Iraq gladdened by what has been accomplished and confident that your future is full of hope. A piece of my heart will always remain here in the beautiful land between the two rivers with its fertile valleys, its majestic mountains and its wonderful people..."

Bremer's office was a division of the United States Department of Defense, and as Administrator he reported directly to the United States Secretary of Defense and the President of the United States. His senior adviser Dan Senor served as coalition spokesman, working with military spokesman Mark Kimmitt.

File:GeorgeWBush LPaulBremer Dec 14 2004.jpg

Bremer is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, December 14, 2004

John Negroponte replaced Bremer as the highest ranking American civilian in Iraq.


Since his return from Iraq, Bremer has been on a few speaking tours. During one engagement on October 4, 2004 at White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, he remarked that lawlessness in Iraq might have been under better control by having more troops on the ground earlier on. Occurring only a month before the 2004 presidential elections, the remarks resulted in controversy. Bremer clarified his views October 8 in an article in The New York Times.[13]

On December 14, 2004, Bremer was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom,[14] America's highest civil award for "especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors." "He was also presented with the Department of Defense award for Distinguished Public Service and the Nixon Library[15] honored him with the "Victory of Freedom Award" for "demonstrating leadership and working towards peace and freedom."[16]

Bremer made several public appearances in 2005 and continues to make public appearances. Bremer was a keynote speaker at a San Diego conference in February 2005.[17]

He is also a guest speaker at several universities throughout the United States. One such visit to Clark University on April 18, 2005 attracted several protesters who displayed anti-Bremer signs and hung him in effigy.[18] Dissatisfied with Bremer's speech and answers, several students also voiced disappointment at their university for having paid $40,000.[19] Other students countered by asking where the criticism for the university was when other lower profile speakers were brought to campus for similar amounts. Another appearance, scheduled for the public library of his hometown, New Canaan, Connecticut, on January 18, 2006, was moved to the private St. Luke's School in the same town for fear for protests. During a February 27, 2006 public appearance at Lynchburg College, where his sister-in-law is an assistant dean, Bremer insisted that his decision to disband the Iraqi military was the correct one.

Bremer also wrote a book about his experiences in Iraq, published January 2006. In a Dateline NBC interview broadcast on television on January 8, 2006, Bremer said that the job was more difficult than he originally anticipated. According to the Financial Times Online, he was used as the Iraq "fall guy" for "postwar setbacks".

Among other things, Bremer repeatedly asserted that when he came to Iraq, the Iraqi army had abandoned its barracks, and therefore "there was no army to disband". He also repeatedly defended his decision to expel Baath party members from government posts by comparing Saddam Hussein with Adolf Hitler.[20]

Bremer has even made an appearance on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The two joked about their mutual attraction for each other, but the discussion changed course to the topic of Bremer's book.[21]

Bremer has also made one invitation-only, guest appearance in Columbia, South Carolina in March 2006 as guest speaker for a charitable event sponsored by the Lexington Medical Center.[22]

On February 6, 2007, Bremer appeared before a Congressional committee investigating fraud and abuse and was questioned about what happened during his tenure as head of the CPA and to respond to conclusions from a January 2005 audit report, including the missing $8.8 billion U.S. of Iraq's money and the chosen accounting method of these funds.[23][24]

Bremer currently serves as Chairman of the Advisory Board for GlobalSecure Corporation, a company whose focus is "on securing the homeland with integrated products and services for the critical incident response community worldwide,".[25] and on the board of directors of BlastGard International, Inc., a company located in Florida that manufactures materials to mitigate the impact of explosions. (Standard and Poor's Register)

Paul Bremer and wife Frances, the spokeswoman for the National Fibromyalgia Association, travel around the country to help raise public awareness about Fibromyalgia, an alleged medical condition that some claim afflicts 10 million Americans and five percent of the world's population.

Criticism and controversies

Poorly qualified

Though Garner's leadership was largely praised, Bremer's appointment was criticized by human rights groups, who noted that while chairing the National Commission on Terrorism, Bremer advocated relaxation of CIA guidelines which since 1995 restricted working with "terrorist spies" or individuals and groups who have a record of human rights abuses.[26] Others suggested that Jay Garner was replaced with Bremer because Bremer's vision of the reconstruction (selling off oil and other assets to foreign companies, holding elections later) lined up better with the Washington neoconservative vision than Garner's plan of holding early elections (90 days after the fall of Baghdad) and allowing the new elected government to decide what to do with the nation's assets.[27] In retrospect, no such "selling off" of oil assets occurred as the country's infrastructure is state owned (i.e. owned by the Iraqi government). Presently, any foreign entity wanting to drill in Iraq requires the approval of the Iraqi government and not all foreign speculators who request authorization are given approval.

A former U.S. State Department official suggested that Bremer was the wrong man for the job. In a Newsday article, "Diplomatic About-Face/Sources: Garner out in Iraq shuffle" by Knut Royce, May 2, 2003, an unnamed former senior State Department official who worked with Bremer is quoted as saying, Bremer is a "voracious opportunist with voracious ambitions. What he knows about Iraq could not quite fill a thimble. What he knows about any part of the world would not fill a thimble. But what he knows about Washington infighting could fill three or four bushel baskets." This retired official added however that the selection of Bremer is "not all that bad of an appointment" and that "he's not going to be a rubber stamp."

Disbanding of the Iraqi Army

On May 23, 2003 Bremer issued Order Number 2,[28] in effect dissolving the entire former Iraqi army and putting 400,000 former Iraqi soldiers out of work.[29]

The move was widely criticized for creating a large pool of armed & disgruntled youths for the insurgency to draw recruits from. Former soldiers took to the streets in mass protests to demand back pay. Many of them threatened violence if their demands were not met.[30][31]

It was widely asserted within the White House and the CPA that the order to disband the Iraqi Army had little to no practical effect since it had "self-demobilized" in the face of the oncoming invasion force. This however was revealed to be false insofar as the CIA had conducted psychological operations against the Iraqis which included dropping leaflets over the Army's positions prior to the invasion. The leaflets ordered the Iraqi Army to abandon their positions, return to their homes, and await further instructions. In the defense of those involved in the decision making process, it was apparently unknown to them at the time that the CIA had done this.

Bremer was later heavily criticized[32] for officially disbanding the former Iraqi Army. Bremer, however, contends that there were no armies to disband. He says that the brutality of Saddam's rule over his people and his own Iraqi soldiers led to many just leaving after the fall of Baghdad to go home; some to protect their own families from the criminal activities such as rampant looting. Critics claimed his extreme measures, including the firing of thousands of school teachers and removing Ba'ath party members from top government positions, helped create and worsen an atmosphere of discontent among those who did not "fit in" with the socioeconomic profile the Americans were working with. As the insurgency grew stronger, so did the criticisms. Bremer was also in personal danger because of Iraqi perceptions of him and was henceforth heavily guarded. Attempts to assassinate the administrator took place a few times, although none of them succeeded. One of the more publicized attempts occurred on December 6, 2003 when his convoy was driving on the dangerous Baghdad airport road. While returning to the fortified Green Zone, the convoy was attacked by rebels, hit by a bomb and gunfire, with the rear window of his Suburban blown away. As bullets flew, Bremer and his deputies ducked below their seats. No injuries or casualties were reported, and news of the assassination attempt on Bremer was not even released to the rest of the world until December 19, 2003 during his visit to Basra.

During Bremer's stay in Iraq, the Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden allegedly placed a bounty of 10,000 grams of gold on Bremer, the equivalent of $125,000 US at the time.[33]

Regardless of what messages the CIA may or may not have tried on the old Iraqi army, the argument was still ventured that by the time Baghdad fell on April 9, 2003 the previous Army had demobilized, or as Bremer puts it, "had simply dissolved...." However, as Mark Danner reports in an essay in The New York Review of Books entitled 'Iraq: The War of Imagination' and dated September 21, 2006, American agents - including one colonel and a number of CIA operatives - had already began meeting regularly with Iraqi officers in order to reconstitute the army as a working force. Implied in this is the notion that the army - temporarily 'demobilized' or not - did in fact continue to exist as a coherent entity, indeed coherent enough that it could be consulted and negotiated with. This seems to concur with the position of the first Director of the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, ex-General Jay Garner, who Bremer had replaced. As Bob Woodward reports in his State of Denial, Garner, upon hearing of the order to disband the army, attempted to convince Bremer to rethink the dissolution. Bremer was reported as saying: "The plans have changed. The thought is we don't want the residuals of the old army. We want a new and fresh army." To this, Garner replied: "Jerry, you can get rid of an army in a day, but it takes years to build one."

The issue of disbanding the old Iraqi Army found itself, once again, the center of media attention with two articles explaining why Bremer ostensibly did not make the decision on his own. The first press release by the New York Times included a letter written by Bremer to President George W. Bush dated May 20, 2003 describing to the President the progress made so far since Bremer's arrival in Baghdad, including one sentence that reads "I will parallel this step with an even more robust measure dissolving Saddam's military and intelligence structures to emphasize that we mean business." It is reasonable to assume that Bremer interpreted the President's response - or lack of response - to the progress report as a "go".

The second press release dated September 6, 2007 was submitted by Bremer as an Op Ed piece for the New York Times. Titled "How I Didn't Dismantle Iraq's Army", Bremer discusses why the decision was not made on his own, and how the decision was reviewed by "top civilian and military members of the American government"; which included General John Abizaid who briefed officials in Washington "'there are no organized Iraqi military units left'".

Bremer's article goes into further about how the Coalition Provisional Authority did consider two alternatives - to recall the old army or to rebuild a new army with "both vetted members of the old army and new recruits." According to Bremer, General Abizaid liked the second alternative.

Bremer also details the situation he and the major decision makers faced; especially when the large Shiite majority in the new Army could have had problems with the thought of having a former Sunni officer issuing orders.

Furthermore, a memo from Donald Rumsfeld on May 8, 2003 that said "the coalition 'will actively oppose Saddam Hussein's old enforcers - the Baath Party, Fedayeen Saddam, etc...'we will make clear that the coalition will eliminate the remnants of Saddam's regime'" was sent to both the national security adviser and the secretary of state at the time.[34]

After two protesters were killed by U.S. troops, the CPA agreed to pay up to 250,000 former soldiers a stipend of $50 to $150 a month. Conscripts were given a single severance payment.[35] Many of the former soldiers found this to be grossly inadequate.[36]

Charles H. Ferguson, director of critically acclaimed No End in Sight, created a video response to Bremer's Op Ed piece on September 6, 2007. (This was the very first New York Times video Op Ed letter in history.)

"De-Ba'thification" of the Iraqi civil service

Saddam Hussein's ruling Ba'th Party counted among its members a huge majority of Iraq's governmental employees, including educational officials and some teachers. By order of the CPA, these skilled and mostly apolitical people were banned from holding any positions in Iraq's new government and public service. Critics claim these extreme measures, resulting in the firing of thousands of school teachers and removing Ba'ath party members from top government positions, helped create and worsen an atmosphere of discontent among those who did not "fit in" with the socioeconomic profile the Americans wanted to impose. This policy of "de-Ba'thification", now widely seen as having made bitter, new divisions in the country, and fuelling the violence that has torn Iraq apart, was reversed in January, 2008.[37][38]

Management of Iraq's oil revenue

Bremer was accountable to the Secretary of Defense for the actions he took. But, since his authority to spend Iraq's oil revenue derived from United Nations Resolution 1483, he was also accountable to the UN. The authority he derived from the UN to spend Iraq's oil revenue bound him to show that:

  • Expenditures were intended to benefit the Iraqi people.
  • The programs that were funded were decided upon, and supervised in an open, transparent manner.
  • Iraqis were invited to give meaningful input into how funds were spent.
  • The administrator of Iraq was co-operating with the International Advisory and Monitoring Board.
  • That proper fiscal controls were in place, so that it could be demonstrated that none of the funds were diverted, or mis-spent.

One of the concerns the IAMB raised repeatedly was that the CPA had repaired the well-heads and pipelines for transporting Iraq's oil, but they had stalled on repairing the meters that were necessary to document the shipment of Iraqi oil, so it could be demonstrated that none of it was being smuggled.

In their final press release[39] before the CPA's authority expired, on June 22, 2004, the IAMB stated:

The IAMB was also informed by the CPA that contrary to earlier representations the award of metering contracts have been delayed and continues to urge the expeditious resolution of this critical issue.

The CPA has acknowledged that the failure to meter the oil shipments did result in some quantity of oil being smuggled—an avoidable loss of Iraq's oil that was Bremer's responsibility. Neither Bremer nor any of his staff has offered an explanation for their failure to repair the meters.

By failing to repair the meters, and failing to honestly report the lack of progress, Bremer violated UN Security Council resolution 1483, under which he was accountable to the International Advisory and Monitoring Board for his expenditures of Iraqi resources.[improper synthesis?]

Inadequate financial controls

Failure to perform month-end cash reconciliations

Under Bremer's stewardship the CPA requested $12 billion in cash from the US treasury. Under Bremer's stewardship the CPA paid out $12 billion in cash. The external auditors management notes[40] point out that the CPA didn’t perform a cash reconciliation until April 2004, eleven months into Bremer's mandate, when they started their work. See Congressional hearing when Ambassador L. Paul Bremer and Stuart Bowen, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, testified on management of U.S. funds in Iraq.

Failure to employ qualified internal auditors

In his second regulation,[41] Paul Bremer committed the Coalition Provisional Authority to hire a reputable firm of certified chartered accountants, to serve as internal auditors, to help make sure the Coalition's finances were administered according to modern accounting principles. These internal auditors would be separate and distinct from the external auditors who would report to the International Advisory and Monitoring Board. Paul Bremer did not honour this essential commitment. He did not make sure the CPA hired internal auditors.

When the external auditors arrived they learned that Bremer had not made sure the CPA lived up to the commitment to hire internal auditors to help set up a reliable accounting system. On the contrary they learned that a single contracted consultant kept track of the CPA's expenditures in a series of spreadsheets.

The external auditors reported that rather than use a modern double-entry accounting system the CPA used what they described as “a single-entry, cash based, transaction list”.

Unaccounted-for funds

On January 30, 2005, an official report[42] by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Stuart Bowen, cited by Time, stated that $9 billion for the reconstruction of Iraq might have disappeared in frauds, corruption and other misbehavior. On one particular salary register, only 602 names among 8206 could be verified. As another cited example, the Coalition Authority authorized Iraqi officials to postpone declaring the reception of $2.5 billion, which the provisional government had received in spring through the Oil for Food program.[43]

Bremer wrote an eight-page reply to deny the accusations and stated that, during the IG's inquiry, Bowen's people refused to interview Bremer's deputies, and the IG's report failed to mention that Bremer and his people worked under extraordinary conditions, faced a high turnover rate, and had insufficient number of personnel to carry out their rebuilding and humanitarian relief efforts.

Bremer's claim that Bowen's staff made no attempt to interview his staff is at odds with the detailed account of the external auditors, of their attempts to meet with Bremer and his staff. In their management notes they describe how some of the CPA's senior staff, including Bremer himself, just would not make themselves available to meet with the auditors. Others, like George Wolfe, the CPA's de facto treasurer, showed a total lack of cooperation.

As head of the CPA, Bremer bears the overall responsibility for the CPA's hiring policies that led to his staff being dangerously inexperienced and unable to provide the oversight necessary to protect the funds they were administering.[improper synthesis?]

This issue also became a topic of discussion during some of Bremer's Q&A sessions with students who attended Bremer's presentations during Bremer's campus speaking tours. Some questioned Bremer if he could have done things differently in Iraq, but were notably disappointed when Paul Bremer avoided answering the question. Bremer allegedly responded to one such question with “ I will tell you what I told them, I'm saving that for my book... I need more time to reflect.”

In February 2007, Bremer defended the way he spent billions of dollars in Iraqi funds after the U.S. invasion. In a prepared testimony he said that he did the best he could to kickstart the Iraqi economy, "which was flat on its back."[44]

Economic policies

The Coalition Provisional Authority under Bremer issued 100 Orders, which they define as "binding instructions or directives to the Iraqi people that create penal consequences or have a direct bearing on the way Iraqis are regulated, including changes to Iraqi law".[45] The economic policies are largely based on free market ideas, emphasizing protection for foreign investors and contractors, while replacing the tax system with a flat tax.

  • Order #39 allows for the following:
  1. privatization of Iraq's 200 state-owned enterprises;
  2. allow up to 100% foreign ownership of Iraqi businesses;
  3. national treatment of foreign firms;
  4. unrestricted, tax-free remittance of all profits and other funds; and
  5. 40-year ownership licenses.
  • Order #40 turns the banking sector from a state-run to a market-driven system overnight by allowing foreign banks to enter the Iraqi market and to purchase up to 50% of Iraqi banks.
  • Order #49 drops the tax rate on corporations from a high of 40% to a flat rate of 15%. The income tax rate is also capped at 15%.
  • Order #12 enacted on June 7, 2003 and renewed on February 24, 2004, suspended all tariffs, customs duties, import taxes, licensing fees and similar surcharges for goods entering or leaving Iraq, and all other trade restrictions that may apply to such goods.
  • Order #17 grants foreign contractors, including private security firms, full immunity from Iraq's laws.
  • Order #81 opens the way for patenting (ownership) of plant forms, and facilitates the introduction of genetically modified crops or organisms (GMOs) to Iraq.

Some claim these orders violate the Hague regulations of 1907 (the companion to the 1949 Geneva conventions, both ratified by the United States) and the U.S. Army's Law of Land Warfare by fundamentally altering Iraq's existing laws.

Progress of reconstruction

One of the CPA's most important tasks was the reconstruction of Iraq's infrastructure. Compared to the rapid repair of Iraq's oil infrastructure —with the notable exception of the meters— the progress of reconstruction on Iraq's potable water, sewage and electricity systems was extremely slow. Defenders argued that this was due to the unanticipated volume and fierceness of those resisting the Coalition's occupation. Critics blame a CPA's preference for contracts with connected US firms; only 2% of the reconstruction contracts in 2003 were awarded to Iraqi firms.

Shutting down the newspaper Al-Hawza

On March 28, 2004 Bremer ordered controversial Iraqi newspaper al-Hawza shut down[46] for two months. This move was widely criticized as running directly counter to President Bush's announced goal helping transform Iraq into a modern, democratic state. This move was even criticized by members of Bremer's own appointees on the Iraqi Governing Council.

Al-Hawza had been started after the removal of Saddam Hussein and was considered a mouthpiece for Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.[47] It was shut down by the United States-led administration headed by Bremer on March 28, 2004, after being accused of encouraging violence against Coalition troops. There was discussion with Jeremy Greenstock about preparations to arrest Muqtada al-Sadr, who by early March 2004 had increased his militia following, the Mahdi army, from about 200 followers to some 6,000, in a mere seven months. Bremer wrote in his book that "Greenstock said that this would be a difficult time to go after him ... I first urged [his] arrest last August...".[48]

Iyad Allawi, leader of the interim government, explicitly gave al-Hawza permission to re-open on July 18, 2004.

Granting some foreign contractors immunity from Iraqi law

Two days before he left Iraq, Bremer signed "Order 17"[49] giving all staff associated with the CPA and the American government immunity from Iraqi law. One of his former top aides is quoted as saying, “we wanted to make sure our military, civilians and contractors were protected from Iraqi law.”[50] This stipulation was later incorporated into Iraqi law.[51]

Since then, violent events in Iraq involving American security companies such as Blackwater have resulted in great resentment among Iraqis, who view them as private armies acting with impunity on their soil.[52][53][54][55]

Early departure

Bremer's early departure was sprung on the world press as a complete surprise. But the turnover of political power a couple of days earlier was suggested by members of the Bush Administration to thwart any plans the insurgency may have had for June 30.

U.S. intelligence sources had monitored chatter that suggested resistance elements were planning demonstrations, or outright attacks, to coincide with the time of the official handover. An early handover would preempt the plans of resistance elements.[56]

Others read al-Hayat's version published one day after Bremer's departure. The Arabic language newspaper released a story about Bremer's alleged romantic ties with an Iraqi translator, who continued to work for Bremer despite their apparent conflict of interests. The Arabic language newspaper further details the affair stating that the Iraqi woman and her family left for Jordan three days prior to the handover to wait for their anticipated departure for the United States. The paper can be quoted as saying that close acquaintances of the "young Iraqi lover" knew about the affair with the top American official (presumably Bremer) and knew something about future marriage plans. Although the subject of Bremer taking Iraqi women as wives has come up before during his stay in Iraq. Bremer responded to a reporter's question about the rumor of marrying Iraqi women, "I have the maximum number of wives permitted by my religion". This story can also be found in Bremer's book "My Year In Iraq...."

His early departure was disruptive to the smooth transition of authority, as the KPMG audit of the Development Fund for Iraq made clear. In their management notes the external auditors describe trying to meet with Bremer, and being very surprised by his early departure.

Many of Bremer's senior staff left when he did, meaning that important documents, required for the completion of the audit, could not be signed by the appropriate staff members.


  • "The new administration seems to be paying no attention to the problem of terrorism. What they will do is stagger along until there's a major incident and then suddenly say, `Oh, my God, shouldn't we be organized to deal with this?'" (February 26, 2001, speaking at a McCormick Tribune Foundation conference on terrorism)
  • "...there are reasons why some people turn to terrorism. There are political reasons, there are economic reasons. Some people are simply criminals...."[57]
  • "Ladies and gentlemen... we got him!" (December 14, 2003, announcing the capture of Saddam Hussein)


  1. Bremer memos from his service as deputy executive secretary for Kissinger are available at
  2. Terrorists' Friends Must Pay a Price (L. Paul Bremer III) - September 1996
  3. Economic Club of New York - Public Policy - Economics - Social Issues
  4. The Harvard Club of New York City
  5. - Transcripts
  6. Milestones of Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC)
  7. Lewis Paul Bremer III on Washington DC NBC4 TV 09/11/01
  8. From Diplomacy to Demi-Glace
  10. Larry Kudlow on Colin Powell and Paul Bremer on NRO Financial
  11. A Year of Crucial Missteps - TIME
  12. CPA Iraq
  13. L. Paul Bremer III, "What I Really Said About Iraq, New York Times.
  14. President Presents Medal of Freedom
  15. Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace Foundation
  16. [1]
  17. Online Speech Bank: Paul Bremer - Keynote Address at the TD Waterhouse Investment Advisor Conference
  18. 100 Turnout Against Clark/Bremer: IMC Worcester
  19. Bremer speaks at Clark, 100 protest: IMC Worcester
  20. Holland, John (2007-12-10). "Bremer justifies Iraq war". The Modesto Bee. Retrieved 2007-12-11. 
  21. Comedy Central: Comedy Central Official Site - Your Source for Comedians, Funny Video Clips, TV Shows, Games, Jokes, & Ringtones
  23. House Panel Criticizes Shipments of Cash to Iraq: NPR
  24. Testimony of Ambassador Paul Bremer - Hearing Questions Waste, Fraud, and Abuse In Iraq Reconstruction
  25. Global Secure Corporation | Securing the homeland with integrated products and services for the critical incident response community worldwide
  26. Countering the Threat of International Terrorism
  27. ZNet |Iraq | Unreported: The Zarqawi Invitation
  29. - U.S. dissolves Iraqi army, Defense and Information ministries - May. 23, 2003
  30. Iraqi soldiers march on US base to demand back pay - War on Iraq -
  31. Iraqi troops say U.S. owes them back pay / Bitter soldiers threaten attacks on American forces, sabotage
  32. What We Got Right in Iraq -
  33. Osama Tape Offers Bremer Bounty, Promises $125K In Gold For Killing Top U.S. Administrator In Iraq - CBS News
  34. How I Didn’t Dismantle Iraq’s Army - New York Times
  35. US decides to pay Iraqi soldiers and form new Army |
  36. US Stipend Seen as Paying Little Respect to Former Iraqi Soldiers
  37. Usher, Sebastian (2008-01-12). "Baathist mistake corrected amid concern". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-01-12. 
  38. "Iraq bill allows some Baathists back into government". 2008-01-12. Retrieved 2008-01-13. 
  39. International Advisory and Monitoring Board for Iraq (IAMB) - An audit oversight body for the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI) - Press Release, June 22, 2004
  40. Report IHQ v2.3
  42. [2][dead link]
  43. - Audit: U.S. lost track of $9 billion in Iraq funds - Jan 30, 2005
  44. "Paul Bremer Grilled on Iraqi Aid Fund Management". Associated Press, February 6, 2007.
  45. The full text of each of Bremers 100 Orders is available at
  46. BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Iraqi outcry as US bans newspaper
  47. Bremer's Tale: The Top American in Iraq : NPR
  48. Quote from My Year In Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope, page 302, 3rd paragraph
  50. Hirch, Michael (2007-09-20). "Blackwater and the Bush Legacy". Newsweek: pp. 2. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  51. Glanz, James; Sabrine Travernise (2007-09-22). "Blackwater Case Will Go to Iraqi Criminal Courts". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  52. "Iraq to end contractor 'immunity'". BBC News (BBC). 2007-09-25. Retrieved 2007-09-25. 
  53. "Blackwater staff face charges". 2007-09-23. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  54. Reid, Tim (2007-09-20). "Blackwater must go, says Iraq leader". Times Online (The Times). Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  55. Iraq sees security vacuum without Blackwater | U.S. | Reuters
  56. دار الحياة
  57. PBS interview Global Threat, June 6, 2000

Further reading

External links

Preceded by
William J. Dyess
U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands
Succeeded by
John Shad
Political offices
Preceded by
Jay Garner
Director of the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance for the Coalition Provisional Authority of Iraq
May 11, 2003 – June 28, 2004
Succeeded by
Iyad Allawi (as Interim Prime Minister of Iraq)
John Negroponte (as Ambassador to Iraq)
Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer (as Interim President of Iraq)

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