Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Vote "no" on Condaleeza; Pull out of Iraq in 6 months

Here's a post of mine from the Washington Monthly website, discussing Condaleeza Rice and pulling out of Iraq

Why does it have to be all or nothing- either the U.S. stays forever or pulls out tomorrow? Why not set a departure date- six months is enough time to train Iraqi forces who want to fight for freedom and recruit peacekeepers from the U.N. or neighboring Arab countries with Muslim soldiers?

If the peace in Iraq must be kept- but the American presence there destabilizes the country and unites the opposition- then what possible benefit accrues to the U.S. by having our soldiers over there getting blown up? Did anyone have the sense to ask Condi these questions? Kind of the basic issue, isn't it?

Posted by: James Finkelstein on January 19, 2005 at 12:58 AM |

James: The short answer is that if we set a departure date, that's going to be what the insurgents hang on to wait for. We bailed on the Iraqis once, and they haven't forgotten this.
Posted by: tbrosz on January 19, 2005 at 1:07 AM |

Yeah but... we had exactly the same issue in Vietnam in 1968, and ultimately when we left in 1973-1975, the result was the same except a few thousand more Americans and many thousands more Vietnamese were dead.

The real issue for the U.S. and Iraq is whether there is anything related to our security that is worth any American dying for. My answer is "no" and that hasn't changed since this bogus war was first hyped up as a mid-term election ploy in 2002.

Before 2002, an American invasion of Iraq was nothing more than a neocon wet-dream promoted by the Project for a New American Century, which thought a permanent U.S. military base in Iraq was a wonderful thing. Then those nut jobs- including Cheney, Perle, Feith, Wolfowitz, et al., got put into power. George W. couldn't have found Iraq on a map in 1997, when PNAC was formed, or in 2000, when they outlined their desire for a new American Empire. By 2002, with Enron and Worldcom collapsing, the economy in a tailspin and the dotcom balloon burst, a California energy crisis manufactured by the same people who were part of Dick Cheney's secret committee, Karl Rove dusted off a foreign war as a wonderful diversion from domestic screw-ups. And it worked- they not only kept the House, they got back the Senate. And they ran on one issue- fear.

So, regardless of how Iraqis now feel about being betrayed again- and I felt in 1991 we should have at least made the southern marshes off limits for the Republican Guard and their gunships the way we did for Kurdish areas in the north- at this juncture, if they want to be free, we should give them a window of 6 months to recruit outside peacekeepers from Egypt, Jordan, and Pakistan, and train every Iraqi who wants to fight for his country.

And just knowing that America is pulling out will do wonders for Iraqi morale and put the kibosh on recruiting efforts for insurgents and suicide bombers. Suicide bombers thrive in an environment of hopelessness (as in Palestinian "refugee" camps in existence for 56 years). Let's take away that motivation and let them focus on what their country will be like after we pull out. We can't give them or anybody else freedom. We can depose or kill the tyrants who ruled them. But as Moses figured out 3200 plus years ago, you can't turn slaves into free people overnight. You can only plant the seeds for the next generation.

But no matter what else we do, let's keep the southern and northern oil fields out of the new government's hands and internationalize them. The worst thing we could do would be to give a brand new country which may become a theocracy or a dictatorship the means (money) to buy fancy new weapons. The money from oil should go to non-governmental organizations (like the Red Cross, Ox-Fam, Doctors without Borders) to distribute inside Iraq once it is stable. And if it isn't stable- then giving them access to billions of dollars in oil revenues wouldn't be the smartest thing to do.

That's my two cents (more like three bucks), anyway.

Posted by: James Finkelstein on January 19, 2005 at 1:24 AM


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