Conviction : the policy impact of L. Paul Bremer III



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While serving as the Presidential Envoy to Iraq, historians, journalists, and students alike became acquainted with Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III for the first time. Those same observers judged Ambassador Bremer’s work and effectiveness, without knowing anything about his previous career and how his prior experiences shaped his intellectual growth as a Foreign Service Officer. Therefore, this thesis effectively serves as an opportunity for observers of the Iraq War and historians to put the fourteen months Ambassador Bremer served in Iraq into a greater context. The Thesis tracks his early Foreign Service postings, through his enormous impact on the Cold War as Ambassador to the Netherlands, up through the bi-partisan report that he chaired, which is sometimes referred to as the “Bremer Report.” His career before Iraq allowed him to gain experience in diplomacy, studying terrorism, and preparing himself intellectually to understand and attempt to solve problems in different areas of the world and different sectors within government and out. Additionally, the Thesis discusses two issues during Ambassador Bremer’s time in Iraq. One of the issues, based on interviews with each party, re-explains the nature of the relationship between Ambassador Bremer and Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez. This discussion also presents evidence as to why difficulties at the time did exist, although the overall nature of them have been greatly exaggerated. Lastly, the Thesis discusses the decision to disband the Iraqi Army, and attempts to place that decision in the context of Ambassador Bremer’s prior career and decision making.