Bremer, L. Paul, III

Bremer, L. Paul, III
▪ 2004

      Amid criticism that the reconstruction effort in Iraq was in danger of losing the peace, L. Paul Bremer III was named the new U.S. administrator of occupied Iraq by Pres. George W. Bush on May 6, 2003, five days after the president had declared an end to major combat in the U.S.-led war there. Bremer replaced retired Lieut. Gen. Jay Garner, who had himself arrived only weeks earlier to head the Office of Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance in Baghdad. Before the occupation had lasted a month, it became clear that the Bush administration had not adequately planned for the reconstruction of Iraq, and Garner's team had made little headway in making the nation's capital secure. Faced with streets filled with garbage; broken electrical, water, and sewerage systems; and skyrocketing street violence that had virtually imprisoned Baghdad residents in their homes, Bremer nonetheless maintained that Iraq was “not a country in anarchy.” He quickly moved to increase the number of U.S. military police in Baghdad while rebuilding the Iraqi police force, speed up fuel deliveries while repairing the country's oil infrastructure, restore basic services, deliver back pay to government workers, and remove members of the outlawed Baʿth Party from positions of authority. He also postponed the establishment of an Iraqi transitional government, which the Pentagon had aimed to accomplish by the end of May. Despite Bremer's decisiveness, violence continued to hamper reconstruction, and Iraqis expressed rising frustration with the occupation. In addition to increasing attacks against occupying troops, there were several confrontations in which Iraqi civilians were killed by U.S. soldiers and a number of lethal bombings, including a blast on August 19 that killed more than 20 UN workers. Fearing that the peace was once again slipping from its grasp, in early November the Bush administration summoned Bremer to the White House for talks aimed at accelerating Iraq's return to sovereignty. Bremer returned to Baghdad with a plan to transfer power to an Iraqi provisional government by the end of June 2004. In early December he escaped injury when his convoy was attacked in the Iraqi capital.

      Lewis Paul Bremer III was born on Sept. 30, 1941, in Hartford, Conn. He graduated from Yale University in 1963 and received an MBA from Harvard University in 1966. He joined the Foreign Service soon after graduate school and later served as an assistant to Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Alexander Haig. Pres. Ronald Reagan named Bremer ambassador to The Netherlands in 1983 and ambassador-at-large for counterterrorism in 1986. From 1989 to 2000, following his retirement from the Department of State, Bremer served as managing director of Kissinger Associates, a strategic consulting firm founded by Henry Kissinger. Before his appointment to Iraq, he was chairman and CEO of Marsh Crisis Consulting.

Janet Moredock

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▪ American statesman
in full  Lewis Paul Bremer III 
born Sept. 30, 1941, Hartford, Conn.
 
 U.S. government official, who served as director of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq (2003–04).

      Bremer graduated from Yale University in 1963 and received an M.B.A. from Harvard University in 1966. He joined the foreign service soon after graduate school and later served as an assistant to Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger (Kissinger, Henry A.) and Alexander Haig. Pres. Ronald Reagan (Reagan, Ronald W.) named Bremer ambassador to The Netherlands in 1983 and ambassador-at-large for counterterrorism in 1986. After retiring from the Department of State in 1989, Bremer worked as managing director (1989–2000) of Kissinger Associates, a strategic consulting firm founded by Kissinger.

      Following the September 11 terrorist attacks (September 11 attacks) in 2001, Bremer served on Pres. George W. Bush (Bush, George W.)'s Homeland Security Advisory Board. In 2003 the United States led an invasion of Iraq and toppled the regime of Ṣaddām Ḥussein (see Iraq War). On May 6, 2003, five days after Bush had declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq, Bremer was named the new director of the CPA, a body tasked with governing the country; Bremer officially took office on May 12. In attempting to make the Iraqi capital more secure, Bremer moved to increase the number of U.S. military police in Baghdad, rebuild the Iraqi police force, restore basic services to residents, and remove members of the outlawed Baʿth Party from positions of authority. He also postponed the establishment of an Iraqi transitional government. Widespread violence continued to hamper reconstruction, and Iraqis expressed rising frustration with the occupation.

      On June 28, 2004, Bremer handed over sovereignty to the Iraqi provisional government, although U.S. forces remained in the country. After returning to the United States, he was widely criticized, mainly for his decision to disband the Iraqi army. In 2004 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Two years later Bremer published My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope.

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Universalium. 2010.

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