Media, Marketing, PR – 978.925.7746
Media, Marketing, PR – 978.925.7746

Review of Responsible Plan To End The War In Iraq Part Two

…continued from Orange Juice


Humanitarian crisis in Iraq

The state of the Iraqi economy gives Iraqis little incentive to work to preserve it. Unemployment is estimated at 60 percent, and most educated Iraqis, or those with money, have already fled. Foreign direct investment is under 1 percent. Most Iraqis have electricity for less than 3 hours per day. This economic paralysis is a direct impetus for the ongoing violence. Young, unemployed men end up joining militias that vie for control of neighborhood turf, rather than putting their energies toward rebuilding a shattered nation.

Economic crisis in Iraq

The Iraqi people are in a humanitarian crisis which prevents the stabilization of Iraq. As many as a million Iraqis are dead. Nearly four million Iraqi refugees have been displaced or have fled. Reports show that one out of every two households in Baghdad has lost a family member. There is no reliable power, no reliable schooling for children, no system of reliable hospitals, and no functioning civil infrastructure. While the temporary increase of U.S. troops in Baghdad and certain other areas of Iraq has reduced the number of attacks, violence remains high, and Iraqi forces are still not ready to assume the duties of the U.S. military.

Note to Bush: Saddam did a better job than you do providing vital services and you’re the leader of the free world. Ouch.

Intervention in Iraq by outside actors

Iraq’s neighbors are actively intervening directly in Iraq’s affairs, exacerbating domestic political and ethnic fault lines and increasing internal instability. Iran, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia are all active inside of Iraq, and we need to provide incentives for them to become stabilizing rather than destabilizing forces…

Whether we like it or not, Iraq’s neighbors will continue to intervene because they have serious national interests at stake: they have to deal with the refugees, violence, crime, economic shocks and all the other consequences of Iraq’s instability. All of the neighbors have an interest in maintaining stability but they also fear other neighbors gaining advantage. To achieve this goal they have looked for proxies who will carry out their agenda – which makes the situation worse by strengthening various warring parties and
creating greater potential for broader regional conflict…

Iraq Study Group Recommendation 22: The President should state that the United States
does not seek permanent military bases in Iraq. If the Iraqi government were to request a temporary base or bases, then the U.S. government could consider that request as it would in the case of any other government.

I’m glad they brought this up. No wonder the Iranians are pissed at us. We didn’t have to attack them to attack them. There needs to be a summit of the neighboring countries. Unfortunately, I don’t think Bush will cave, so its going to be at LEAST 2009.

I’ve already stated that we should keep the country surrounded but stay out of it. the diplomacy effort would really help here. Time will tell.

No protection of profits for war profiteers. Contractors who have abused U.S. taxpayers and Iraqi citizens by failing to deliver on their contractual obligations, by delivering substandard goods or services, or by working counter to the interests of the U.S. and the Iraqis should be held to account. At a minimum, profits made by such contractors at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer and the Iraqi people should be refunded.

Great idea in theory, but good luck with that in practice.

If the Iraqi people unambiguously request peacekeeping forces, the U.S. should work with legitimate international organizations to assist in that regard.

I’m sorry. Define ‘unambiguously.’ These people cant agree on anything!

The Departments of State, Agriculture, Commerce, Transportation, Justice, and Treasury must be directly engaged in creating this solution, rather than assigning everything to our military. The active engagement of
the international community, as well, would expand their capacity and facilitate the security of the teams.

I like this idea. It creates more jobs in this country too and provides more expert input where it belongs. Nice. Problem with 2 departments though: judicial or economic advice from a western nation is probably not what the Iraqi government is interested in.

As Major General Paul Eaton (ret.), who served in Iraq in 2003 and 2004, told us, “So long as angry young men loiter on the streets, nothing good will come. Give them a job, however, and a realistic chance at a better life, and the situation will improve.” We propose to address this problem by making a major investment in rebuilding the Iraqi economy using Iraqi labor for needed public works projects…

Such programs should be implemented so that unemployed young Iraqi men would receive decent wages while working on projects across Iraq, with Sunnis, Shi`a and Kurds working together.

YES YES YES. NOW they’re thinking. But again it comes to political and corporate will. Will American corporations reliquish control? Will anyone force them to? And do the Iraqis really want a unified state or did we choose that for them?

In part due to what Mike Huckabee has called the “arrogant bunker mentality” of the current administration, the international community has been loathe to make a significant commitment in Iraq. Converting the U.S. military effort in Iraq to a civil, economic and humanitarian one, in which our allies would be given a say, would likely reduce that reluctance. We should strive to enlist the international community as full partners in a civil and economic reconstruction program in Iraq.

Again, visions of 2009 dance in my head. We need crediblity for diplomacy and diplomacy for credibility. It doesn’t look good.

H.R. 2265: Responsibility to Iraqi Refugees Act of 2007
This legislation would provide special immigrant status for certain Iraqis and assist Iraqi refugees.

Asylum is fine for some, but what if these people just want their homes back and don’t want to be relocated?

Hold perpetrators of war crimes responsible. We should work with the international community to hold perpetrators of potential war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide accountable for their crimes. One way this could be done is by working with the United Nations to establish an independent war crimes commission or a special investigator to gather testimonies and investigate war crimes.

Its hard to hold anyone responsible for war crimes in a nation that is practically anarchaic but technically does have a government. I don’t think overriding that with UN judicial intervention is a good idea since it challenges Iraqi sovereignty.

Iraq, prior to the invasion, was one of the more egalitarian societies in the Middle East with respect to women. Over the last five years, however, their status has become increasingly threatened. In order to renew Iraqi civil society, the lives of Iraqi women must be improved and their basic rights protected in Iraqi society.

This is not a simple problem to solve: it requires winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. However, with investments in economic development and education focused on women, and through the other diplomatic and economic tools at our disposal, we may be able to make progress on it. If we don’t
prioritize it, the situation for Iraqi women is likely to get worse rather than better, to their detriment and the detriment of the Iraqi people as a whole.

Bush: 0. Saddam: 2. This is the most realistic statement thus far. Women, being of what is normally the less violent gender, especially in this instance, need to be given more resources to highlight the advantages of a stable, non-violent Iraq.

Stabilization of Iraq

Stabilization of Iraq will require deployment of fiscal and diplomatic resources into a major effort to rebuild the economy and infrastructure of Iraq… support the unity and territorial integrity of Iraq… stop destabilizing interventions and actions by Iraq’s neighbors… secure Iraq’s borders, including the use of joint patrols with neighboring countries… validate Iraq’s legitimacy by resuming diplomatic relations, where appropriate, and reestablishing embassies in Baghdad… help Iraq reach a mutually acceptable agreement on Kirkuk… Assist the Iraqi government in achieving certain security, political, and economic milestones, including better performance on issues such as national reconciliation, equitable distribution of oil revenues, and the dismantling of militias.

Yes, let’s rebuild the infrastructure once again so terrorists and insurgents can destroy it once again. To be fair, destruction has as much to do with infrastructure issues as anything else.

Also, why must we force the Iraqis to retain their political borders? I don’t understand the hypocrisy of telling them they can’t break up their own country. And how about working with neighbors to create STABILIZING interventions? Military units in Iraq would be targets but an embassy wouldn’t? How many years did it take for the Israelis to get out of Gaza? And finally, we’ve shown we can lead by example. Sure we have.

H.R. 1352: Torture Outsourcing Prevention Act
This legislation would “prohibit the return or other transfer of persons by the United States, for the purpose of detention, interrogation, trial, or otherwise, to countries where torture or other inhuman treatment of persons occurs, and for other purposes…”

Trust me, when this stuff happens, more than often ‘nobody saw it.’ Don’t you think there are thousands more scandals that haven’t been uncovered? Good luck with enforcement.

H.R. 4102: Stop Outsourcing Security Act
This legislation would phase out the use of private military contractors.
H.R. 2740: MEJA Expansion and Enforcement Act of 2007
To require accountability for contractors and contract personnel under Federal contracts, and for other purposes.

We MIGHT be able to get contractors to a certain level of accountability, but I doubt they’re going anywhere soon. Again, business and government are far too intertwined.

H.R. 400: War Profiteering Prevention Act of 2007
This legislation would amend the federal criminal code to prohibit profiteering and fraud involving a contract or the provision of goods or services in connection with a mission of the U.S. Government overseas.

So which is it? Phase out contractors or better regulate them? And what’s with the ‘overseas’ terminology? What about conflicts on our continent and in South America?

H.R. 2809: New Apollo Energy Act of 2007
To ensure that the United States leads the world baseline in developing and manufacturing next generation energy technologies, to grow the economy of the United States, to create new highly trained, highly skilled American jobs, to eliminate American overdependence on foreign oil, and to address the threat of global warming.

And how does it propose to do it? More subsidies? Is the government in the energy business now? Oh wait, it has been since 2000.

… and now… the biggest doozey of the bunch:

S. 2332: Media Ownership Act of 2007
This legislation would require the FCC to include greater public participation when changing regulations related to broadcast ownership, to do studies on the impact of such rule changes, and to establish an independent panel on increasing the representation of women and minorities in broadcast media ownership.
This is the first step to censorship! Very disappointing. So many want ‘market forces’ to dominate global trade, but they want to regulate the commodity of information? It’s just wrong. Furthermore, what do women and minorities in the American media have to do with Iraq?

It was an interesting read overall and a lot more heady than I expected, but I also have to say I was pretty disappointed with the proposed solutions. They’re too far reaching, way too complicated, and dependent on too many people and organizations ‘doing the right thing.’ In that regard I stand by my assertion that this plan is too idealistic.