Column No. 113 By Steven Jonas, MD, MPH - July 6, 2006
This is a column that may be outdated by the time you read it. Events are moving quickly in Iraq. On June 25 the Iraqi government announced a reconciliation initiative of its own intended to end most of the violence, put Iraqis back in full charge of their own country, and start the country down the road to true and full reconstruction. As of June 26 the proposal was reported in only piecemeal fashion in the US. One element that certain sources said was part of it was a call for the full withdrawal of US troops by a date certain. (What traitors those Iraqis are. Imagine, like certain Congressional Democrats calling for the departure of foreign troops from their own country!) The early response from certain Sunni groups was negative, although others had subscribed to the plan (The Sunday Times [London], “Key insurgents vow to reject Iraq peace plan,” Ali Rifat and Hala Jaber, Baghdad). At any rate, with a plan on the table that looks much like what the Democrats (called traitors in the Senate) were offering in one form or another in the “debate” of the week of June 19, 2006, things, to say the least, may be considered to be in a state of flux.
Now, regardless of what position those Iraqi government traitors to US Iraq policy may say (and those folks, placed in power by the Georgite occupation may be considered traitors of the “US’s own” type) I agree with a variety of Senators that the time has come for the country to pull together and put forward a bipartisan policy towards Iraq, the war, and the American occupation. As Sen. John Warner, Republican of Virginia, said during the that Senate “debate” on the President’s Iraq policy (Zernike, K., The New York Times, “Senators Begin Debate on Iraq,” June 22, 2006): “[T]he nation, the world, the men and women of the armed forces would like to see the Senate and the Congress stand behind them with strong bipartisanship.” Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Republican, oops I mean Democrat, of Connecticut, added: “The war to remove Saddam Hussein may have been a war of choice, but now it is a war of necessity. We must win it.” Sen. Hillary Clinton (sort of) Democrat of New York weighed in with: “This is not a time for partisanship” (http://www.hillaryclinton.com/speech/view/?id=953.).
I have given this matter a good deal of consideration and I think that it is indeed time for us Democrats to get bipartisan and get behind the President to achieve the goals that he now states for the American occupation of Iraq. (One must recall that the presently stated goals are rather different from those he put forth in order to persuade the Congress and the American people to support the invasion, but how can we quibble at this point?) At any rate, the presently stated Georgite goals are to: “stay the course,” “fight them over there so that we don’t have to fight them over here,” and “defeat Islamofascism around the world.”
In the spirit of bipartisanship and showing that we Democrats know what really will be needed from our country in order to achieve these goals, I think that our party should offer the following multi-part Congressional resolution. All of its elements are designed to insure that the President’s goals will be fully achieved, over time.
1. The “Course” in “Stay the course” is to be defined: no anti-American or internecine Iraqi violence of any kind for a period of six months.
2. “Islamofascism” is defined, among other things, as a state in which there is an official state-sanctioned religion, the leaders of which will ultimately be in control of national policy; any personal behaviors and beliefs, religious or otherwise, contrary to those of the state religion will be criminalized; any opponents of the state religion are to be labeled as “godless” and “traitors,” subject to appropriate penalties. (Any similarities to those openly stated goals for US national policy, legislation, and Constitutional Amendments of the President’s core supporters on the Religious Right is purely coincidental.)
3. The achievement of the President’s stated goals obviously requires a long-term (many years) US presence in Iraq. The financial support for the occupation needs to be stabilized and absolutely secure. Thus to support it properly, the US needs to stop borrowing from major lenders like China (who could call in their chits on this one at any time). The nation must be unified in support of the war effort. Sacrifices have to be made, especially among those who are the President’s principal supporters. Therefore, in the spirit of rallying behind the President there will be a “War Tax.” Fortunately, there will be no necessity to raise taxes on everyone. The needed revenues will become available simply and primarily by the rescission of all the tax cuts for the wealthy that have been instituted since 2001, for the duration of the war.
4. Some people believe that the primary reasons the US invaded Iraq were, and are, oil and bases. Of course, even though a few thoughtful Senators and Congressmen like Sen. Kerry and Rep. Murtha believe that there may be something to that speculation, the Bush Administration has assured us that nothing could be further from the truth. To make it entirely clear to one and all that the US objectives in Iraq are not oil and bases, the US will renounce any interest in Iraqi oil by any US-owned or affiliated oil companies and will immediately turn any and all bases over to the Iraqi military as part of the ongoing US commitment to strengthen it.
5. Again in the spirit of unity and demonstrating the support for the war by all sectors of the American economy and society, henceforth all work in support of the occupation, either in Iraq or elsewhere, done by US corporations will be carried out on a not-for-profit basis.
6. To demonstrate full Congressional support for the war effort and for paying for its ongoing costs on a cash basis, there will be no Congressional ”earmarks” (otherwise known as “pork”) added to any legislation for the duration of the US occupation.
7. Further so as to show the full support of the war effort by those who made the decision top invade and drew up the specific plans for the invasion (like, for example, The Decider), shall publicly appeal to any and all of their off-spring and close family of military serving age to join the armed forces and ask for Iraq duty at the earliest possible convenience. The President’s daughters, nieces, and nephews for some reason spring to mind as examples. As a BuzzFlash petition of August 30, 2005 stated: “Sign the Petition of Redress. Either the Bush Kids Put Their Lives on the Line for George's ‘Noble War’ or the Troops Come Home: I demand that George W. Bush's daughters, and his eligible nieces and nephews, serve in Iraq to prove their support of Bush's 'noble war for a noble cause.' If the Bush family does not believe in 'sacrificing' for the war and is not willing to put their lives on the line, then Bush must bring the troops of middle class and poor Americans home now (http://www.buzzflash.com/editorial/05/08/edi05061.html)."
8. It is becoming increasingly clear that the present all-volunteer armed forces will not be able to support the achievement of the President’s goal of “staying the course” on their own. Third and even fourth tours are becoming common. A majority of US troops in Iraq believe that US forces should be withdrawn (I suppose that they are traitors too). Thus in true spirit of bi-partisanship, it is proposed that a Presidential Commission be formed with the charge of developing a plan for the re-institution of the military draft.
And now, let’s hear it for bipartisanship!
Note: This column is based in part on my column of June 23, 2006 entitled “Democratic Ideas, V: Bipartisanship on Iraq” that appeared on BuzzFlash (http://www.buzzflash.com/jonas/06/06/jon06010.htm).
* Please note that I most recently presented a detailed proposal for dealing with the war issue itself on The Political Junkies.net of 15 December, 2005, my Column No. 89 "AN IRAQ EXIT PROPOSAL."