What IS the solution now in Iraq?

January 24, 2007 | By | 8 Replies More

Sometimes I have only questions, and few answers.  I feel that way about Iraq.   I have not heard any really good proposals for what to do now in Iraq.  Maybe it is because I start with the belief that we caused this problem by our war-mongering.  I find it hard to think it is responsible or sufficient to walk away and leave this mess we created behind us.  I would appreciate some thoughtful ideas, based on the following premises (they may not be your premises, humour me and help me think of solutions based on mine):

1. We started this war and we were wrong to do so.

2.  Life for Iraqis is worse than it was before we started, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died, and the infra structure is in shambles.

3.  We don’t want more American soldiers to die.

Based on those propositions, what is a responsible solution here?  Can we just walk away and leave the mess behind?  Do we throw a lot of money at them to fix the problem themselves?  Does that appease our conscience?  Do we help them partition into three separate countries: one for Kurds, one for Sunis, one for Shiites?  What if we try a ‘political solution’ but we can’t get Syria, etc., to take this problem off our hands?

What can we do now that Humpty Dumpty has fallen? 

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Category: Iraq

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My life’s goal is to make a difference; to help those stuck in the mire of poverty and ignorance. I am an advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves, whether from ignorance, from lack of eloquence or simple lack of opportunity.

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  1. grumpypilgrim says:

    I don't know what the solution is, but I have an idea of how to find it. First, impeach Bush and his trusty sidekick Cheney, and get those sorry excuses for world leaders out of the White House and into a jail cell where they can't do any more damage. Then, convene some people who know something about nation-building and *listen* to them.

    The problem we are facing is that Bush has turned into a dictator. He has turned his back on all military generals, all Members of Congress, all Iraqi leaders and all members of the American voting population who tell him anything contrary to what he has already decided to do. The proper way to make decisions is to: (1) consider all alternatives; and (2) weigh the alternatives to find the best one. Bush's way to make decisions is to: (1) suppress all alternatives other than the one he has unilaterally chosen; and (2) use whatever force is needed to dictate that alternative to all concerned. Cheney, as his interview last weekend on NBC's "Meet The Press" demonstrates, is just as bad. Were their choices successful, we would still have a problem (because of the damage they are doing to American democracy), but the fact that their choices have been disastrous should have every American screaming for change.

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    My inclination is that some form of partition is inevitable, whether legal recognized or de facto. See this 2004 article in Slate  for some discussion (here) and this 2006 article from the London Times, which argues that the 2005 Iraqi election was a "roadmap to partition."  Partition is not a pretty solution, but I was against the damned war from Day One. Then again, although it's not my fault, Iraq is my problem. Once again, partition leaves much to be desired. Then again, show me a better approach.

    I can already hear the concerns about creating a Kurdish state to the ire of Turkey.  That's why I would consider maintaining "Iraq" as a formal name to a country that is partitioned as a matter of fact (like it already is already).

  3. Cleptomanx says:

    I get the feeling that the broad sword of the military hasn't been able to do the job because quite frankly American Troops will never be welcome by any of the rebel sects that are plagueing Iraq. I feel that our energies would be better spent, by using the CIA to find a very large number of third party contractors (basically mercenaries) with the right qualifications and seed them all over the country to infiltrate every cell around. There is never a shortage of these types of soldiers for hire and I'm sure the cost would be a lot less than what we've gotten into now and the efficiency of the operations would be much higher.

    I'm sure that these tactics have been used to some degree in tandem with the conventional warfare the military is waging, but I think that if this tactic is turned up to a higher degree… it might yield better results to take out the major aggressors. The strength of the factions have always been small cells of trustworthy individuals that are willing to die for the cause, but with this type of surgical and psychological strategy, trust would be harder to come by and hamper many of the violent operations.

    As for the torn apart nation of Iraq and social reform… well, Erich's idea of partitioning sounds okay. Not pretty, but it seems that the situation is basically evolving into this anyway.

  4. Chris says:

    It seems to me that at this point, *any* American presence, no matter its intentions, is gasoline on the fire. That and the desire to get Americans out of the line of fire (or crossfire!) are the main reasons I favor withdrawal, the sooner the better. (Being a member of the reality-based community, I am of course open to evidence-based arguments as to why some other course would be better. People with a penchant for pounding the table, ad hominems and other digressions need not apply.)

    Will Iraq remain a bloody mess? Probably. But any solution that comes from us will be rejected *simply because it comes from us* – even if the exact same suggestion from an Iraqi, or someone else in the region, would be hailed as the perfect solution. That's the depth of ill will that exists in Iraq now – and with good reason.

    Let's be blunt about this: Saddam-era Iraq was several different nations stitched together by brutal dictatorship. Without equally forceful measures, it is very likely going to return to its component parts. Remember Yugoslavia? The best outcome we can hope for is several nations that are each individually internally stable and don't immediately declare war on each other. Some semblance of democracy would be nice too, but we can't expect much on that front as long as the region remains in the grip of highly authoritarian religions.

    P.S. Any of our various puppets and quislings who want to come with us when we leave should be permitted to do so, because it's primarily our actions that have put them in such grave danger of being lynched if they stay while we leave.

    P.P.S. Nobody wants to touch the third rail – Israel and our continuing support for it – but we can't avoid it forever. Propping up Israel poisons everything we try to do diplomatically with any Arab country in the region.

  5. Devi says:

    I have a fairly established principal in my life, whether at work or at home: you make the mess/mistake, you clean it up. It seems so very wrong for us to simply walk out on the mess, but I think you are right that no solution coming from us will be accepted. But is there no way to TRY without staying there?

  6. grumpypilgrim says:

    I agree with Devi: you make a mess, you clean it up. So, let's take all the neo-cons and their flag-waiving followers who voted for Bush, and ship them to Iraq to fix the mess. They supported the invasion, so let them clean it up. While they're at it, they can pay the bill for it, too. Surely there can be no better way to make war-mongers think harder about their gung-ho support for military action than by making them personally liable for the consequences. Think of it as another form of tort law, like making negligent companies pay for damage they cause with defective products, or making negligent doctors pay for injuries they cause through malpractice. Make negligent voters pay for catastrophies they cause with their votes.

  7. grumpypilgrim says:

    Devi's comment about "you make the mess, you clean it up" continues to resonate for me. Here's another solution it suggests to me: let Bush have his misguided troop surge — a tactic that has already failed several times before AND that has been opposed by his own generals, by the Iraqis, by the U.S. Congress, and by the American public — but couple it with consequences if it fails this time. Let's make it substantial: Bush's resignation. When a leader reveals himself to be a feckless incompetent, it is customary for the person to offer his resignation. Rumsfeld did it. Michael Brown (the notorious director of FEMA during the Katrina fiasco) did it. Countless other people have done it. So let's see Bush put his money, or at least his integrity, where his big, fat mouth is. Of course, he never would, because he lacks even a shred of the courage and honor of the troops he commands. But it is entirely appropriate to demand the resignation of an incompetent leader, especially one as utterly incompetent as Bush. Countries with parlimentary governments (England, for example) have no hesitation about removing their Prime Minister with a vote of "no confidence." California removed its incompetent governor Gray Davis with a recall vote. Bush seems to need more motivation to make better choices, so let's give him some.

  8. Erich Vieth says:

    Check this out, from Salon.com's "War Room":

    "I'm the decision maker," [the president] said. "I had to come up with a way forward that precluded disaster."

    The president's declaration comes on the heels of Nancy Pelosi's report on a meeting she had at the White House recently. Pelosi says she asked Bush why he thought this "surge" would work when two others have failed. The president's response: "Because I told them it had to."

    It must happen because he said it had to happen? 

    For more from Salon, click here.

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