A Responsible and Honorable Iraq Exit:
END THE WAR FIRST: The Embassy-Defund Strategy
This page > What is "the war?" ED Strategy Reframe Issue End Political War 1st ED Bill Impeachment? What is "Victory?" Post-War Plans

What exactly is "The Iraq War?"     (TOP)  
The 2006 Election Mandate and Challenge     (TOP)

The 2006 election mandate was clear: "END THE WAR and Bring the Troops Home." But the Democrat-led Congress spent a frustrating year of threatened vetoes and filibusters trying to "pressure" Bush to set withdrawal schedules -- without ending the Iraqi-hated political war and occupation.

Members of Congress and Presidential candidates who are following Bush over the political cliff of continuing the war will undoubtedly be appropriately rewarded next November. Those who want to get re-elected by ending the war -- both Democrats and Republicans -- need an effective means of achieving that goal.

The Embassy-Defund Strategy     (TOP)

This is a strategy for bypassing Bush vetoes and Senate filibusters to enable the present Congress to quickly end the political war before military troop withdrawals. It involves the following elements.

Re-frame the Issue for the Campaign and for Legislative Debate and Initiatives     (TOP)

The Democratic leadership failed to satisfy the 2006 election because they allowed Bush and his Congressional allies to "frame" the problem in the operational military terms of troop withdrawal and financing -- where he has the decision-making advantage -- rather than focusing on Bush's real, political purpose for this war, where he is vulnerable.

The debate needs to be shifted quickly to this political frame of reference: how the war was started, and Bush's real basic purpose for it -- the occupation of Iraq as a permanent base for American control of Middle East oil and geopolitical location. This purpose was obvious to many even before the war. But Bush has now made it abundantly clear in many ways:

Most of those on the national political stage who now say the war should never have been started, and/or should be ended quickly, nevertheless propose varying schedules for withdrawing troops, because they have no clear definition of when -- or how -- the (political) war will actually be ended. Withdrawing combat troops -- even all of them, as Nixon did from Vietnam in 1973 -- will not, in itself, END THE (political) WAR. So, unless Bush and his Republican Congressional allies are bypassed, to permit ending the political war quickly, the violent military killing, and the refugee stream, will continue for at least another year, and possibly until the end of the next presidential term. None of the Iraq exit plans proposed so far effectively satisfy last November's mandate to "END THE WAR and bring the troops home."

However, once the political war is ended, the conditions and timing of the troop withdrawal -- and all the other war-related problems -- can and should be negotiated in the very different post-war political and military environment.

End the (Political) War First     (TOP)

Congress can formally end the political war very quickly and definitively by "book-ending" its October 2002 authorizing resolution with another joint resolution explicitly repudiating Bush's real purpose for starting the war.

But to pass such a resolution in the present political environment, Congress needs to first have the long-needed honest and open Great Debate that deals not only with the Iraq war, but also the future of 21st Century American foreign policy. Do the American people want to see themselves, and be seen by the rest of the world, as the Neocon-advocated all-powerful military hegemon, hated and distrusted by most of the rest of the world? Or do they want to be viewed as a world leader in building the United Nations into an effective means for promoting world peace and world cooperation in solving the many challenges we now face that can only be solved by that kind of world cooperation -- such as global warming and the peaceful, fair and efficient sharing of the remaining limited natural resources?

The Embassy Defund Bill     (TOP)

The misnamed and dysfunctional new American "Embassy" in Baghdad provides a particularly appropriate basis for this Great Debate. Its imperial size and fortified nature, combined with its network of permanent-type military bases and permanent military communications system, blatantly and undeniably symbolizes and proclaims to the whole world Bush's basic purpose for starting the war and continuing the occupation.

A bill to prohibit any further spending to repair, expand and occupy this future white elephant should be introduced in Congress immediately, either independently or attached to one or more of Bush's emergency supplemental funding bills. The Democratic leadership should then send it to the committee or committees whose chairmen would be most able and willing to organize the subpoena-supported incisive investigations to fuel the needed debate.

Because of the symbolic significance of this imperial fortress embassy for American foreign policy, this Great Debate will provide American voters with a much clearer basis for choosing the foreign policy direction of political candidates -- and our country -- in the 2008 election. And it will tend to make the next step far easier.

Whether the Embassy-Defund bill is actually passed or not, Congress should quickly take up the key end-the-war joint peace resolution that repudiates the basic Bush/Cheney war aims. Passage of this resolution would send a clear signal to the people of Iraq and the rest of the world that the Democratic-led Congress is finally determined to take control of Iraq War policy.

The need and opportunity for impeachment of Bush and Cheney     (TOP)

A Bush veto of the end-the-war resolution, asserting his right to carry on the war absent the initial Congressional approval, would present an appropriate beginning for the long-needed impeachment proceedings of the war's authors, Cheney and Bush. If these hearings are as brief enough and efficient as they were for Nixon in the four months it took in 1974, this would clear the way for an interim (acting) president (like Gerald Ford in 1974) who will be better able to responsibly manage the crucial post-war negotiations -- after the election if not before.

Iraq "Victory" -- for Bush or for America?     (TOP)

Bush and other pro-war people keep referring to "victory," "success," "finishing the job," etc., as reasons for continuing the Iraq war. To them, these terms mean actual achievement of the original (and continuing) illegal imperial Bush/neocon war aim of using Iraq as a compliant military base for continued U.S. control of Middle East oil and strategic location -- the war aim so blatantly and undeniably broadcast to the world by the imperial-size "embassy" and its associated permanent military bases and communications system.

The problem with continuing to think of "victory" in this sense is that, even if the chance of its achievement had ever been remotely possible, that chance was fatally squandered by the gross mismanagement of the first few months of the occupation, which actually created the enduring roots of the violent resistance that has plagued the occupation ever since.

Now, we need to salvage American national honor, and avoid a Bush War version of the "Vietnam syndrome," by extracting a political and moral victory for the American nation and the American people from the jaws of the Bush-War failure. America needs to re-frame the concept of "American victory" in terms of achieving the most honorable and responsible Iraq exit that is still possible. This is the key challenge for the post-Bush American "regime" -- whether after the 2008 election, or even before by the post-impeachment president and formerly-Bush-intimidated Congress. And that challenge has two key aspects:

  1. ending the political aspect of the war/occupation as quickly and honorably as possible -- by means of the Embassy-Defund strategy
  2. taking the lead in mobilizing a massive post-war international Iraq recovery and rehabilitation effort, some -- but not all -- of the desirable features of which are described below.
Post-War Plans -- the "Marshall Plan" for reconstruction     (TOP)

Honorably and responsibly ending the political war means abandoning the basic Bush/neocon war aim to achieve and maintain a permanent American military occupation of Iraq. The primary American post-war responsibility is to recognize that, if we accept the fact that beginning this war was a disastrous mistake that was wrong -- morally, politically, legally -- then we owe the Iraqi people significant reparations. These are an essential aspect of honorably and responsibly ending the war.

This will create an entirely different military and political environment both inside Iraq and in the whole Middle East. A responsible and honorable plan for American post-war relations with Iraq requires a clear recognition of this new situation, in which the U.S. has three basic responsibilities -- in cooperation with the U.N. -- to help Iraq to:

  1. Achieve a full-employment economy as soon as possible -- jobs are peacemakers;
  2. Reconstruct its industrial infrastructure, particularly its oil industry, which provides the main income for its national government;
  3. Reconstruct its public service infrastructure -- electricity, fuels, potable water, sewage disposal, garbage collection, etc.

These three are clearly interrelated. Note that this list does not explicitly refer to providing security, training Iraqi army and police forces, or dealing with refugees, militias, corruption, religious conflict and other commonly-mentioned concerns of those advocating gradual and partial American troop withdrawal. A clear change in American intentions that ends the occupation and provides American aid in a true rebulding effort can be expected to remove many of the security issues that would seem to demand our involvement.

The "moral" imperative such a plan is not the only imperative. People aware of world history can recall the situation between the two World Wars, when Germany, already on its knees at the end of the first war, was held there by the post-war arrangements, and became a willing reponder to one of the most dangerous demagogues of recent history, bringing us the second, far more destructive war.

The Marshall Plan that rebuilt Western Europe was in part a result of that earlier lesson learned -- solid support of a war-torn country's recovery is a good financial investment, if your aim is to avoid future war. And the plan worked. There isn't solid data available for what the unemployment rate was in West Germany immediately after the war, but it was undoubtedly extremely high. Yet three years later it had dropped to less than 4%, thanks in large part to the Marshall Plan.

Iraq's present unemployment rate is estimated at over 50% -- double that of the worst year of the Great Depression of the 1930's that ravaged American society. This is generally recognized, even by our generals, as a key cause, both directly and indirectly, of a large part of Iraq's violence, corruption, and religious conflict. A massive reconstruction program that creates a massive number of new jobs that enables millions of people to honestly and honorably finance their family's food and rent would also be likely to cause a sea-change in the security and sectarian environment. The movement toward greater security, along with the diminishing options of the expatriates, will be a strong incentive for the expatriates' return to Iraq, where they will be greatly needed in the process of national reconstruction.

If the basic political war is ended very quickly, so that expensive American offensive military operations can also be ended quickly, and rapid American troop withdrawals are also started very quickly, then even "Marshall-Plan"-size reparations specifically designed to make possible very rapid Iraq recovery in all three of its major focuses could be easily financed out of immediate "peace dividend" financial savings. Moreover, the UN, Arab League, and most of Iraq's neighbors have also offered to help -- as soon as the U.S. ends its illegal occupation.

This page > What is "the war?" ED Strategy Reframe Issue End Political War 1st ED Bill Impeachment? What is "Victory?" Post-War Plans

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