My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope

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When Paul 'Jerry' Bremer, a retired diplomat and counterterrorism expert, arrived in post-war Baghdad as 'pro-consul', he was shocked. His hurried briefings in Washington by the State and Defence Departments and the C.I.A. had not prepared him for the devastation, the chaos, and the violence. With security worsening, the Iraqi army having disappeared, no viable local currency, looters running wild, the electricity system down, food supply in jeopardy and factions of Kurds, majority Shia, and the newly dispossessed Sunnis at a political standoff demanding Iraq be turned over to them, Ambassador Bremer struggled to jumpstart the economy while putting the country on the road to democracy. Bremer describes his meetings with President Bush and multiple encounters with Rumsfeld, Rice and Powell in which he pushed for additional funds for Iraq's reconstruction and warned of the dangers of prematurely turning security over to untrained Iraqi security forces and turning governance over to exiles with no plan for a constitution or elections.He describes working with Iraqi leaders on a constitution to protect individual rights and dramatizes the heroic efforts of his staff and Coalition forces to give the long-suffering Iraqi people a measure of peace and hope. Ambassador Bremer's book is vital reading if we wish to understand the immense stakes involved in this war and this troubled region.