Thursday, August 10, 2006

ABC's of Iraq

Like most working people today, I get the news in small bits and pieces , a few minutes here and there. Everything swirls around in my head and it eventually forms my opinion on the situation.

I saw on the news the other day, a General explaining to his troops that their year long tour of duty in Iraq was being extended for four more months in order to re-secure Baghdad. My heart goes out to these men and women, as I know how fatigued they are and how much they need time at home with family.

I recall reading somewhere that the majority of soldiers going into Iraq in the beginning, believed that Iraq/Saddam was directly involved in the 9-11 attacks and was actively supporting Al-Quaeda. Then, recently I read that more than half of American voters still believe this falsehood that was so widely promoted by the Radical Right media.

Then I catch another bit of news, that the new Iraq government is considering a partition of Iraq into Kurd, Shiite and Sunni sections in an attempt to halt the civil war that has erupted.

I see that we have blasted Iraq (which in history classes we called the Cradle of Civilization) to smithereens. And now we are obligated to rebuild it, by means of funneling billions of dollars into the pockets of Dick Cheney's buddies at Haliburton, and a few more billions that have just disappeared. We have basically bankrupted the country in financing this war without allied support, and according to reports it will take billions more to refit our military and National Guard after the conflict is over.

The Al-Quaeda terrorists do not reside in Iraq. They have not all travelled to Iraq to fight against us there. They have small cells throughout the world, and are patiently planning their next act or terror. They wish to destroy the infidels, especially Americans, because we support Israel as a Jewish state in the midst of Islamic nations. (I think Israel has a right to exist, but deplore the continual violence that goes on there)

Also noted is the disbanding in late 2005 of the CIA unit dedicated to the apprehension of Osama Bin Laden. I was in favor of using all resources at our disposal to find Bin Laden and destroy his network of terrorist training camps, so this has me a bit puzzled. Do we have him on ice somewhere?

Then we have the matter of the vacationing George Bush, who surpassed Reagan's 8 year record total of Presidential vacation time in 2005 with 3 1/2 years left to go. I have to ask, who is really in charge of running the country?
Cheney, Rove and Rumsfeld, the Old Boys With War Toys, and billions of (dollars worth of ) reasons to make war?

I'm sure that some of the complexities of the situation have escaped me, but I was never in favor of the war in Iraq, not from day one. Shock and Awe did not impress me. I do not think we are "making the terrorists come to us (in Iraq)", I do not think we have improved the lives of the Iraqi people, and I do not think the world is a safer place because of the war.

My family has a long history of patriotism and service to country. My father was in the Navy and was at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed. He survived and served through the end of WW II. My brother-in-law was a Marine and served two tours in Vietnam, receiving the Navy Cross for heroism. My nephew was Air Force and served in Desert Storm. Please do not call me a traitor or say that I don't love America.

In the Vietnam war we had 50,000 body bags. The Iraq war has its 2,500+ flag draped caskets (which we aren't supposed to photograph) and its thousands of deaths due to "collateral damage".

It is time to formulate an exit strategy for this ill-thought-out war and bring our troops home.

2 comments:

Amy said...

Who was it that said when the fascists come they'll be draped in the flag and praising Jesus? Sigh, it gets old, doesn't it, defending your patriotism when so many don't get that this country was founded on dissent to begin with.

sevenpointman said...

The plan I am sending you has been approved by many prominent thinkers and
activists in the field. Which includes: Benjamin Ferencz, Chief Prosecutor
at the Nuremburg Trials, Ken Livingstone-Mayor of London,
Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit, Tom Hayden, Matthew Rothschild, Anthony Arnove, Danny Schecter, Tony Benn- Former Member of the British parliament ,Reggie Rivers,
Robert Jensen, Andrew Bard Schmookler and others.
I formulated this plan in September 2004, based on a comprehensive
study of the issues. For my plan to be successful it must be implemented
with all seven points beginning to happen within a very short period of
time.
I have run up against a wall of doubt about my plan due to it's
rational nature ,and due to it's adherence to placing the blame on the
invaders, and then trying to formulate a process of extrication which would
put all entities in this conflict face to face, to begin to finally solve
the dilemmas that exist.
If you read my plan you will see that it is guided by a reasonable
and practical compromise that could end this war and alleviate the
internecine civil violence that is confronting Iraq at this juncture in it's
history.
I am making a plea for my plan to be put into action on a wide-scale.
I need you to circulate it and use all the persuasion you have to bring it
to the attention of those in power.
Just reading my plan and sending off an e-mail to me that you received
it will not be enough.

This war must end-we who oppose it can do this by using my plan.
We must fight the power and end the killing.

If you would like to view some comments and criticism about my plan
I direct you to my blog: sevenpointman

Thank you my dear friend,




Howard Roberts



A Seven-point plan for an Exit Strategy in Iraq




1) A timetable for the complete withdrawal of American and British forces
must be announced.
I envision the following procedure, but suitable fine-tuning can be
applied by all the people involved.

A) A ceasefire should be offered by the Occupying side to
representatives of both the Sunni insurgency and the Shiite community. These
representatives would be guaranteed safe passage, to any meetings. The
individual insurgency groups would designate who would attend.
At this meeting a written document declaring a one-month ceasefire,
witnessed by a United Nations authority, will be fashioned and eventually
signed. This document will be released in full, to all Iraqi newspapers, the
foreign press, and the Internet.
B) US and British command will make public its withdrawal, within
sixth-months of 80 % of their troops.

C) Every month, a team of United Nations observers will verify the
effectiveness of the ceasefire.
All incidences on both sides will be reported.

D) Combined representative armed forces of both the Occupying
nations and the insurgency organizations that agreed to the cease fire will
protect the Iraqi people from actions by terrorist cells.

E) Combined representative armed forces from both the Occupying
nations and the insurgency organizations will begin creating a new military
and police force. Those who served, without extenuating circumstances, in
the previous Iraqi military or police, will be given the first option to
serve.

F) After the second month of the ceasefire, and thereafter, in
increments of 10-20% ,a total of 80% will be withdrawn, to enclaves in Qatar
and Bahrain. The governments of these countries will work out a temporary
land-lease housing arrangement for these troops. During the time the troops
will be in these countries they will not stand down, and can be re-activated
in the theater, if the chain of the command still in Iraq, the newly
formed Iraqi military, the leaders of the insurgency, and two international
ombudsman (one from the Arab League, one from the United Nations), as a
majority, deem it necessary.


G) One-half of those troops in enclaves will leave three-months after they
arrive, for the United States or other locations, not including Iraq.

H) The other half of the troops in enclaves will leave after
six-months.

I) The remaining 20 % of the Occupying troops will, during this six
month interval, be used as peace-keepers, and will work with all the
designated organizations, to aid in reconstruction and nation-building.


J) After four months they will be moved to enclaves in the above
mentioned countries.
They will remain, still active, for two month, until their return to
the States, Britain and the other involved nations.





2) At the beginning of this period the United States will file a letter with
the Secretary General of the Security Council of the United Nations, making
null and void all written and proscribed orders by the CPA, under R. Paul
Bremer. This will be announced and duly noted.



3) At the beginning of this period all contracts signed by foreign countries
will be considered in abeyance until a system of fair bidding, by both
Iraqi and foreign countries, will be implemented ,by an interim Productivity
and Investment Board, chosen from pertinent sectors of the Iraqi economy.
Local representatives of the 18 provinces of Iraq will put this board
together, in local elections.


4) At the beginning of this period, the United Nations will declare that
Iraq is a sovereign state again, and will be forming a Union of 18
autonomous regions. Each region will, with the help of international
experts, and local bureaucrats, do a census as a first step toward the
creation of a municipal government for all 18 provinces. After the census, a
voting roll will be completed. Any group that gets a list of 15% of the
names on this census will be able to nominate a slate of representatives.
When all the parties have chosen their slates, a period of one-month will be
allowed for campaigning.
Then in a popular election the group with the most votes will represent that
province.
When the voters choose a slate, they will also be asked to choose five
individual members of any of the slates.
The individuals who have the five highest vote counts will represent a
National government.
This whole process, in every province, will be watched by international
observers as well as the local bureaucrats.

During this process of local elections, a central governing board, made up
of United Nations, election governing experts, insurgency organizations, US
and British peacekeepers, and Arab league representatives, will assume the
temporary duties of administering Baghdad, and the central duties of
governing.

When the ninety representatives are elected they will assume the legislative
duties of Iraq for two years.

Within three months the parties that have at least 15% of the
representatives will nominate candidates for President and Prime Minister.

A national wide election for these offices will be held within three months
from their nomination.

The President and the Vice President and the Prime Minister will choose
their cabinet, after the election.


5) All debts accrued by Iraq will be rescheduled to begin payment, on the
principal after one year, and on the interest after two years. If Iraq is
able to handle another loan during this period she should be given a grace
period of two years, from the taking of the loan, to comply with any
structural adjustments.



6) The United States and the United Kingdom shall pay Iraq reparations for
its invasion in the total of 120 billion dollars over a period of twenty
years for damages to its infrastructure. This money can be defrayed as
investment, if the return does not exceed 6.5 %.


7) During the beginning period Saddam Hussein and any other prisoners who
are deemed by a Council of Iraqi Judges, elected by the National
representative body, as having committed crimes will be put up for trial.
The trial of Saddam Hussein will be before seven judges, chosen from this
Council of Judges.
One judge, one jury, again chosen by this Council, will try all other
prisoners.
All defendants will have the right to present any evidence they want, and to
choose freely their own lawyers.