L. Paul Bremer
Coalition Provisional Authority
PSA- The Transitional Administrative Law
Civilian Control of the Military
I am Paul Bremer, Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority.
In thousands of conversations over the past 10 months you, the Iraq people, have
made it clear to me that you want freedom; you want sovereignty; you want
elections; and you want democracy.
And you will have them all.
You have freedom now-- thanks to the brave soldiers of the Coalition.
You will have sovereignty on June 30.
You will have elections too, four of them in the year-and-a-half following
The progression and timing of these events are spelled out in the Transitional
Administrative Law. That Law guides Iraq’s course from sovereignty on June 30
until the installation of a constitutional, elected government in December 2005.
The Transitional Administrative Law contains many guarantees of individual
rights and many safeguards to prevent the reemergence of tyranny. One of the
safeguards intended to protect against tyranny is civilian control of the
A democratic government is based on the idea that the people are best served
when decisions emerge from the marketplace of ideas, when they have been debated
and discussed by all who will be affected by the decision.
An Army, which is run on the immediate execution of command, can serve under a
democracy, but cannot rule over one.
That is why civilians must control the military and not the other way round.
Although the profession of arms is ancient and honorable, special care is
required to prevent a nation’s arms from being turned against a nation’s people.
The reasons are evident. Worldwide there have been dozens of military coups in
recent decades. Lust for power can be a strong temptation and having command of
thousands of armed men can make it easy to yield to that temptation. Iraqis know
that for decades, Saddam Hussein used Iraq’s military against his own people, as
he did when he used poison gas at Halabja, as he did when he killed the tens of
thousands now buried in mass graves all over the country.
Your Transitional Administrative Law separates political power from military
power and places the military under elected civilian control in very specific
• Military operational authority flows from the Prime Minister, who will be an
elected civilian, to the Minister of Defense, who must also be a civilian, to
the military chain of command of the Iraqi Armed Forces. Thus, the military gets
its direction from one elected civilian through another civilian.
• According to the Transitional Administrative Law, no serving or recent member
of the military can be a member of the National Assembly, a minister, Prime
Minister, or a member of the Presidency Council. This helps separate military
force from political authority.
• The Transitional Administrative Law also stipulates that no member of the
armed forces can stand for political office or campaign for any political
candidate. This prevents the emergence of a military candidate or military
• Finally, according to the Transitional Administrative Law, the Presidency must
request and the National Assembly must approve the dispatch of Iraq’s armed
forces outside the country. This is intended to prevent the military
adventurism, such as Saddam’s wars against Iran and Kuwait, which brought so
much heartbreak to you and to your neighbors.
The Transitional Administrative Law provides these safeguards to assure civilian
control of the military. They are just some of the many ways in which the
Transitional Administrative Law protects you and your family as Iraq moves
toward its future of hope.
Mabruk al Iraq al Jadeed.