Belaboring the Obvious

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Baker/Hamilton/Pseudo Wise Men Report Is Out....

And, despite all the media flackery going on, big fuckin' deal.

The contradictions in what is offered in the report, the media's interpretations and the White House pronouncements about it are extreme.

No one will at this moment say, outright, that Bush and Cheney won't do anything that makes them look like they're abject, drooling idiots, and Congress won't make them look foolish and stupid, though well they are.

No one will offer any other suggestions about what to do that in any way impinges upon the real issues.

Here's the main issue. Bush and Cheney, along with assorted intellectual dwarves in the White House and the Department of Defense and the State Department, just plain fucked up. In massive and incalculable fashion. They started a war for no other reasons but greed and the exercise of power (all sorts of manifestations of those principles implicit in what they did and what has happened afterwards). Now they won't admit it. That makes them pretty poor examples of human beings, but recognizing that won't stop Iraqis from being killed.

Now, anyone who thinks they have an airtight plan to fix the problems of the last four years in Iraq probably is ready for a rubber room, but, maybe, there's a plan which has some direction, and even if Bush and Cheney and their fellow neo-con self-deniers won't carry it through, maybe there's something that can be done.

Some of the facts as they are now (as opposed to what they were four years ago) are:

  • A plurality of Iraqis, based on polls, want us out of their country.
  • There is and was a civil war going on which is now spiraling down into anarchy.
  • The country is awash in corruption and there is little being done to reestablish essential services.
  • Further violence will only harden sectarian divisions and encourage attacks on US personnel.
  • The US, for political and economic purposes, is treating the Iraq government and its leaders as puppets to be controlled by the US.
  • There is little hope of obtaining a truly secular and democratic society in Iraq in the short-term or in the foreseeable future.
  • The violence is, if not accelerating, then is still maintaining at unacceptable levels.

Given all these things, the US, if it actually wants to correct the problem it has made in the region, must do some variation on the following:

  • It must tell its multinational corporations to abandon all near-term expectations of profiting from the situation, and in blunt terms. They must be told to stay away.
  • The current US government and its successors must accept that there is no hope of creating a pro-US puppet government which will do the bidding of the US, either now or in the foreseeable future.
  • The current US government must acknowledge that its plans have failed, and continued pursuit of those plans will make the situation worse, not better.
  • The current US government must accept that the only way to minimize the violence is to offer incentives which appeal to Iraq's self-interest, rather than the self-interest of the US.
  • The current US government must accept that it has obligations to repair the damage it has caused in its attacks on Iraq, but that it has no right to dictate terms, beyond those which appeal to Iraqi self-interest.

To that end, there's this option:

The current US government must establish terms for withdrawal of all troops, not only from Iraq but the general region. The presence of US troops in alien territory is fundamentally antagonistic. The current US government must negotiate with whatever parties, formal and informal, representing Iraqi interests, for safe passage out of the country of all US troops and parties aiding the US at this time which wish safe passage out. The US must give up, absolutely, all plans for some troops to remain in Iraq indefinitely. Likewise, the US must accept absolute Iraqi sovereignty.

In exchange, the Iraqi government would receive, with three conditions, sufficient funds to begin rebuilding its country in its own way, and with its own companies and labor and to provide basic operating expenses of government. The conditions would be, first, that all sectarian and internecine violence must end. Second, the Iraqi government must submit all expenditures of US monies to independent auditors. Third, the Iraqi government must seek a unified government which constitutionally guarantees that the majority may not in any way tyrannize the minorities in Iraq and must maintain good jurisprudence and acceptance of internationally-understood concepts of human rights. Failure to accomplish these ends would trigger equivalent monthly forfeitures of aid.

Given that the country managed, under the oil-for-food program, perhaps an average of $6-8 billion in oil revenues, 10% of which was likely siphoned off as graft, a sum of $30 billion annually (along with Iraqis controlling oil revenues as they see fit) would provide for government operations and rebuilding to an acceptable degree, at least initially. This would encourage the Iraqi government to establish their own protocols based upon their own self-interest.

The United States is spending about $100 billion per year on a war which is not accomplishing intended aims, and continued attempts by the US to manipulate the governmental processes in furtherance of US self-interest have failed. The Iraq Study Group's plans are destined to fail, and, if anything, will increase the human and financial costs in Iraq.

It's time to recognize our genuine obligations regarding safety and security and war reparations and the ways in which those obligations can be met by acknowledging Iraqi self-interest. America still wishes to manipulate conditions to satisfy its own self-interest, and such manipulations are a continuing source of irritation to the situation in Iraq. If the United States continues to believe that its self-interest is more important than that of Iraqis, no resolution can be expected and the situation there will grow worse with time. The United States went to war on false pretenses, and without the concerted aid of the international community and its regulatory body, the UN. Now, almost four years later, for it to continue to impose its methods and troops of occupation on Iraq in the expectation of improvement--in the face of contradictory empirical evidence--is to maintain a deadly and expensive fiction.

Hey, it can't be any worse than what Bush or the Wise Men have come up with so far....


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