US diplomat Paul Bremer "shoed" at meeting in British Parliament, February 7th 2013
Lewis Paul "Jerry" Bremer III is most notable for his role as the Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority of Iraq following the 2003 invasion. He served May 11, 2003, until June 28, 2004, effectively serving as Head of State of the internationally recognized government of Iraq.
During the US Occupation an estimated 1,000,000 Iraqis died, 400,000 directly by US troops. 5,000,000 people were driven from their homes as the US forces armed both sides in a sectarian conflict between Shia and Sunni.
Bremer arrived in Iraq and, became the chief executive authority in the country. As the top civil administrator of the former Coalition Provisional Authority, Bremer was permitted to rule by decree. Among his first and most notable decrees were Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 1 which banned the Ba'ath party in all forms and Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 2 dismantled the Iraqi Army.
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 role as the head of the CPA is notable for being the subject of much criticism. Large sums of money have been reported to have gone missing under Bremer's leadership. Bremer's attempts at privatizing much of Iraq's infrastructure and mineral wealth were also highly criticized. and Bremer's decision to disband the Iraqi Army is widely credited for fueling the Iraqi insurgency against the American occupation. Bremer's April 18, 2005 visit as a guest speaker to Clark University, lead to protests against his role in the Iraq War. Dissatisfied with Bremer's speech and answers, several students also voiced disappointment at their university for having paid him $40,000 to appear. 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 repeatedly asserted that when he came to Iraq, the Iraqi army had abandoned its barracks,"there was no army to disband". He defended his decision to expel Baath Party members from government posts by comparing Saddam Hussein with Adolf Hitler.
Bremer was considered an unmitigated disaster by many.. As invasion turned into occupation, and occupation into an out-of-control insurgency and sectarian bloodshed in the mid- to late 2000s, much of the blame was allotted to Bremer and his Coalition Provisional Authority.