"Your presence is politefully requested …"
Three days ago, the blog for the Wall Street Journal, Washington Wire, reported that House Government Reform Committee chair, Congressman Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles, Calif.), extended an invitation to our favorite civilian administrator in Iraq — L. Paul Bremer.
The inquiry will be part of a larger effort to investigate post-disaster efforts by the Bush administration, including Hurricane Katrina. (At least someone is doing it. No thanks to Republican senator from Connecticut.)
Yochi Dreazen of Washington Wire says Bremer has kept a "low profile" since leaving Baghdad in 2004. That is, if you can call writing a book on the matter "keeping a low profile."
However, Waxman's invitation appears not to be a legal summons to appear.
The Waxman letter makes clear that Bremer would face a wide array of questions – and that he would be in for an unpleasant few hours if he agrees to testify. [emphasis added]
Waxman looks to find out about the nearly $9 billion that went "missing." Dreazen continues:
Waxman writes that the panel wants to ask Bremer, the former head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, about a government audit that found the CPA had largely lost track of $8.8 billion in Iraqi money that had been entrusted to the U.S. by the United Nations. Much of that money is now believed to have been misspent by the CPA or stolen. Waxman also notes in the letter that he wants to question Bremer about mounting evidence that the Bush administration gave key positions within the CPA to politically-connected Republican operatives and ideologues.
I suggest quoting verbatim from the book Imperial Life in the Emerald City and take it from there.
In addition to hiring 20-somethings with no business or financial experience to open Iraq's stock exchange, Bremer's ruling authority — the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) — made several key missteps in his year in Iraq. Another key mistake made by the CPA was the disbanding of the Iraqi army.
Yet, as Justin Rood reminds us:
Indeed, he walked away with a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Department of Defense award for Distinguished Public Service, and even the Nixon Library's "Victory of Freedom Award."
Also asked to appear will be the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) Stuart Bowen.