5. Disbanding the Iraqi Army
On May 23, 2003, Paul Bremer — the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority at the time — ordered the disbandment of the Iraqi Army. It was a terrible decision, as many acknowledged.
The whole Iraqi military history with its traditions and communal spirit was swept aside in an instant. Basically, eradication seemed to be the best way to manage those Iraqis most likely to engage in subversive activity.
Apart from a lot of war crimes committed by some officers, the Iraqi Army had, from an American standpoint, a recent history of terribly poor military performance. According to Bremer, it had largely disbanded as a reaction to the US invasion of Iraq.
However, many Iraqis didn’t share this point of view. While their army’s legacy was complex, service in the Army (particularly its performance against Iran) was a source of national pride. Yet, 80 years of institutional history were eradicated.
If you’re passionate about history, you may want to read this one as well: Devastating Political Assassinations That Changed History.