The decision not to recall Saddam Hussein’s army was thoroughly considered by top officials in the American government. At the time, this decision was not controversial. When [the coalition’s national security adviser, Walter Slocombe] held a press conference in Baghdad on May 23 to explain the decision, only two reporters showed up — neither of them Americans. The first I heard of doubts about the decision was in the fall of 2003 after the insurgency had picked up speed.By contrast:
Moreover, we were right to build a new Iraqi Army. Despite all the difficulties encountered, Iraq’s new professional soldiers are the country’s most effective and trusted security force. By contrast, the Baathist-era police force, which we did recall to duty, has proven unreliable and is mistrusted by the very Iraqi people it is supposed to protect.
Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W Bush, by Robert Draper... suggests Mr Bush was unaware the Iraqi army was to be broken up by Paul Bremer, the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, in May 2003, a decision seen as one of the biggest post-invasion mistakes as it put hundreds of thousands of armed men on the street.
The president told Mr Draper that the policy was to keep the Iraqi army after Saddam's fall. For some reason, it "didn't happen", he said.