In an October 6 editorial, The Wall Street Journal falsely asserted that L. Paul Bremer, former U.S. administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, had not asked the Bush administration for additional troop support until June 2004. During a question-and-answer session after a recent speech at DePauw University, Bremer said:
The single most important change -- the one thing that would have improved the situation -- would have been having more troops in Iraq at the beginning and throughout. Although I raised this issue a number of times with our government, I should have been even more insistent.
About Bremer's statement, the Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote:
"I never heard him ask for more troops and he had many opportunities before the President to do so," one senior Administration official tells us. Or to be more precise, Mr. Bremer did finally ask for two more divisions in a June 2004 memo -- that is, two weeks prior to his departure and more than a year after he arrived.
However, as Knight Ridder reporters Jonathan S. Landay and Warren P. Strobel reported on July 1, 2003, Bremer had requested additional troops the previous summer, an entire year before the June 2004 memo The Wall Street Journal's editorial board highlighted.
The top American administrator in Iraq, confronting growing anti-U.S. anger and guerrilla-style attacks, is asking for more American troops and dozens of U.S. officials to help speed up the restoration of order and public services.
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld was reviewing the request from L. Paul Bremer, U.S. officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.