If you haven't read that, please do. It's great. It's important.
Today, to partially compensate for my violation of fair-use standards, I'm making another pitch for you to buy the new issue of Harper's. In it, George McGovern, the UN Global Ambassador on Hunger, who was the Democratic candidate for president in 1972, and William Polk, Middle Eastern Studies expert and author, have written "The Way Out Of War: A blueprint for leaving Iraq now". It's an excerpt from their new book, Out Of Iraq.
Staying in Iraq is not an option. Many Americans who were among the most eager to invade Iraq now urge that we find a way out. These Americans include not only civilian "strategists" and other "hawks" but also senior military commanders and, perhaps most fervently, combat soldiers. Even some of those Iraqis regarded by our senior officials as the most pro-American are determined now to see American military personnel leave their country. Polls show that as few as 2 percent of Iraqis consider Americans to be liberators. That is the reality of the situation in Iraq. We must acknowledge the Iraqis' right to ask us to leave, and we should set a firm date by which to do so.That's the intro. Here are the pullquotes:
We suggest that phased withdrawal should begin on or before December 31, 2006, with the promise to make every effort to complete it by June 30, 2007.
Withdrawal is not only a political imperative but a strategic requirement. As many retired American military officers now admit, Iraq has become, since the invasion, the primary recruiting and training ground for terrorists. The longer American troops remain in Iraq, the more recruits will flood the ranks of those who oppose America not only in Iraq but elsewhere.
"Stay the course"? When a driver is on the wrong road and headed for an abyss, it is a bad idea to "stay the course".A single issue of Harper's costs $7.95 US, but you can subscribe for $15 a year, $24 in Canada. An excellent deal.
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We should not, as we are currently doing, encourage the growth of an Iraqi army at a cost of billions to the American taxpayer.
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The 25,000 armed mercenaries employed in Iraq as "personal security detail" now make up a force larger than the British troop contingent.
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We should be generous. Generosity will go a long way toward repairing the damage to our reputation caused by this war.
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Assuming 50,000 unjustified deaths, and the compensation per person to be $10,000, our outlay would be only two days' cost of the current war.
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A respected international body should be appointed to process the claims of, and pay compensation to, those Iraqis who have been tortured.
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It is sobering to think that the cost of rebuilding Iraq's public-health system would amount to less than we spend on the war every twenty days.