Column No. 89 By Steven Jonas, MD, MPH - 15 December, 2005
Last week we visited the likely Bushevik strategy for leaving Iraq in time for the 2006 elections: claiming to be “staying the course” while actually cutting and running in such a way as to preserve the US bases in the Iraqi Western Desert, create some kind of US protectorate for Kurdistan and its oil reserves, and keep the Iraqi economy, whatever it is, open for US rape and pillage. The Bush Naval Academy speech of Nov. 30, 2005 talked about achieving “victory” in Iraq. Amazingly enough, according to a New York Times article of Dec. 4, 2005, that speech was aimed not at producing a real strategy for getting out and leaving a viable nation behind, but at getting the American people to support whatever policy, overt or covert, the Busheviks follow in the country.
The speech was put together by a couple of political science professors (who says that there are no right-wingers in academia). They focused on polling data that they interpret at indicating that Americans will continue to support the war and the ever-mounting number of casualties just as long as “victory” is promised. Two major issues here. One is that this Administration which takes the public posture that “we don’t pay attention to polling data” is now openly setting policy because the polls are showing just how little support the Busheviks have outside of their Christian Right/don’t-confuse-us-with-facts base. The other is that the “victory” which Bush described in the speech consists of a series of events that are totally outside of the control of the United States: free elections in Iraq leading to the establishment of a widely accepted government leading to national stability in the country. This must be the first time in history that “victory” is defined in terms like that. I might have missed one, but I certainly cannot think of any previous American war in which it was so defined.
Meanwhile the Democrats are beginning to find their voice. We have previously visited Representative Murtha’s proposal for a phased withdrawal by a time certain (TPJ 87). Very significantly, on November 30 (AP, “Pelosi Calls for Withdrawal from Iraq”) the House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi of California, supported Rep. Murtha’s proposal. Previously she had aligned herself with the so-called “muscular Democrats” whose position may be summarized as “Bush is doing the right thing; he’s just doing it the wrong way.” (That one reminds me of the position that certain liberals took in relation to Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy in the 1950s: “I agree with what he is doing [attacking “the commies” just for being commies], but I wish he would do it more politely.”)
Hillary Clinton is standing her ground, that is straddling what she and the rest of the Collaborationist-DLC think is some “vital center” out there (see HillaryClinton.com, 11/29/05). The DLC itself launched a broadside against Rep. Pelosi (which, interestingly enough, as of Dec. 6 was not to be found on their website). But even Sen. Joe Biden, formerly a member of the “muscular Democrats” (he may still be but he is sounding somewhat different) was strongly on the attack against Bush on the “Imus in the Morning” radio program of Dec. 5, 2005. And Zbigniew Brzezinski, hardly a leftie, is calling for a planned withdrawal by “next year” as well.
To achieve a withdrawal of US forces form Iraq by a date certain will require a detailed plan. At the beginning of September in this space, as I said then I had the temerity to propose one, in outline form to be sure. (It built on a proposal that I put up in this space during the 2004 Presidential campaign.) For the balance of this column, I am revisiting it. This plan is not something that the Georgites would ever do, of course. For the goals of the plan proposed below, to achieve peace for Iraq and the Middle East region accompanied by Iraqi reconstruction, as well as a US withdrawal without abandonment of the Iraqi people, are not those of the Georgites. Theirs are what they always have been: oil and power. The Collaborationist-DLC probably wouldn’t like it much either, because it is hardly “muscular” where the US is concerned.
The proposal does attempt to deal with the reality of Iraq before a US withdrawal with an announced date, during the withdrawal, and after it, so as to minimize to the extent possible the further pain and suffering of the Iraqi people and their civil infrastructure that will result from such an event. That is why I suggest the involvement of the UN in a peace-keeping role. Even better, and this is a new thought, would be if the Arab League would take on that responsibility. Almost every authority on Iraq is predicting a massive civil war upon a US withdrawal. That of course is very real possibility, and if the US just up and leaves with as much of a plan for doing so as the Georgites had when they overthrew Saddam, that would almost certainly happen. But it doesn’t have to. And so, here once again is my proposal.
1. Announce a date for the end of US offensive military action in Iraq, in combination with a UN takeover of command of all foreign forces (or their phased replacement by an Arab League force under its own command) for the purposes of peace establishment and keeping.
2. In that context, announce a date for withdrawal of all US forces other than those requested by the UN.
3. Propose to the Iraqi government the repeal of the "Bremer Plan" for the takeover of the Iraqi economy by foreign investors.
4. Announce a date for the termination of all US private contracts for security and construction in Iraq, other than those that might be negotiated by the UN and the Iraqi government. Ask Congress to appropriate any funds necessary for the early termination of contracts with Halliburton, Bechtel, and etc.
5. Shut down all construction of permanent military bases, with handover of what already exists to the UN Command on an interim basis. Future disposal would be negotiated by the UN with the Iraqi government.
6. Announce support for a comprehensive Israel-Palestine settlement along the lines of the already negotiated "Geneva Agreement."
7. Renounce any interest in ownership or control of any Iraqi oil reserves.
8. Propose as a long-term solution to the Iraqi political situation a tri-partite federation, guaranteed by the UN peacekeeping mission. As part of the package, the Sunni member of the federation would be guaranteed some portion of future oil revenues.
9. Propose the creation, under UN leadership, of a new international organization for combating terrorism using the most sophisticated weapons of intelligence, police work, and focused military action as indicated.
10. Arrange for the immediate shutdown of the US "Guantanamo Prison System" around the world with the transfer of all persons held to the justice systems of their home countries.
Perfect? No. Doable with the right US leadership (to be found among neither the Georgites nor the Collaborationist-DLC)? Yes. Better than what exists now? Surely. Remember: “The strong make the tough decisions; the weak ‘stay the course.’