9.19.2006

blueprint

Last week I posted Daniel Ellsberg's plea, published in Harper's magazine, for a government insider with a conscience to reveal the US's plans to invade Iran - and not anonymously, through Seymour Hersh, but with verifiable proof, while they are still employed.

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.

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.
That's the intro. Here are the pullquotes:
"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".

. . .

We should not, as we are currently doing, encourage the growth of an Iraqi army at a cost of billions to the American taxpayer.

. . .

The 25,000 armed mercenaries employed in Iraq as "personal security detail" now make up a force larger than the British troop contingent.

. . .

We should be generous. Generosity will go a long way toward repairing the damage to our reputation caused by this war.

. . .

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.

. . .

A respected international body should be appointed to process the claims of, and pay compensation to, those Iraqis who have been tortured.

. . .

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.
A single issue of Harper's costs $7.95 US, but you can subscribe for $15 a year, $24 in Canada. An excellent deal.

22 comments:

Canrane said...

My God. You don't realize how much money is being spent in Iraq until it's translated into such terms, eh? Unbelievable!

I don't understand why the American government doesn't just do something like this! It seems win-win.

Did you see that piece on 60 minutes a few weeks ago? It really drove this point home for me. A small group of NYC paramedics were the first aid group to reach some of the most remote parts of Pakistan immediately after the earthquake. They were saying that helping people in need is not only the right thing to do, but the smartest way to combat extremism. And it's true.

Fundamentalists will have a hard time whipping up hatred towards Americans if the only Americans people have met are the ones who saved their lives and treated their wounds.

Pretty simple, IMO.

L-girl said...

I don't understand why the American government doesn't just do something like this! It seems win-win.

I think because staying in Iraq serves their ends, and they don't care what other havoc it creates. Iraq was invaded for control of its resources, and as long as all those companies are still profiting from it, there's no reason to leave.

Plus goddess forbid they would ever admit they made a mistake. Vietnam went on for more than a decade because of that.

Oh, where are my manners. Hi Canrane. :)

Canrane said...

...probably hanging out with my slacker manners ;) Hi Laura!

The thing is, I don't think they'd have to admit they were wrong if they pitch it the right way.

They just have to say it's a new tactic. A two-pronged attack if you will...designed to undermine terrorist organizations and recruiting networks. Pull a rug out from under evil-doers by winning the hearts and minds of regular, every-day Iraqis. We're going to show the world that America does not cut and run. America stays and finishes the job. Operation some-dumb-code-name is underway as we speak. blah blah blah.

As long as it's the republicans suggesting and spinning this initiative, I'm sure people will buy it. It would be child's play to make Democrats look dumb for opposing this, and they'd have the added bonus of being able to claim that they're reaching across the aisle of a bitterly divided nation.

Logically, it all makes sense to me. Maybe that's the problem right there. It makes too *much* sense. Not enough of a challenge for bored white house spinsters in search of a challenge, huh?

L-girl said...

You make a great point there, Canrane. You're right.

Maybe the fact that they don't do this goes to my earlier comment, that the occupation is still serving their purposes.

Lone Primate said...

What worries me personally, and from a Canadian point of view, is that Michael Ingatieff, who eats this militaristic shit and calls it ice cream before issuing more of his own, is the current front-runner for the Liberal leadership, narrowing edging out Bob Rae and Stephane Dion. For the Grits to select him to lead the party would be a disaster for the country politically and electorally. Liberals who consider him just another Tory, but who can't bring themselves to endorse the NDP (which even I prefer as a conscience rather than a king) are going to mutter "a pox on you all", drop out of the system, and the Tories are going to found a dynasty that will last for years, no doubt rolling back much of the progress this country has made since the 1970s.

What may be worse is Ingatieff's ass-hatted idea of opening up the Constitution to cater to Quebec again. Only someone who's been out of the country for decades and has no visceral sense of what that means could propose that. It's the equivalent of a guy who's allergic to bee stings and has been hospitalized twice for smacking a hive with a stick sitting up and saying, "Hey, where did I leave my bee hive-whackin' stick, honey?" The venality and hubris that just earned them a governmental "time out" were bad enough; if the Grits put this guy at the helm, I swear right now, I will never, ever, EVER vote for them again because they're just too stupid.

L-girl said...

I can't stand Ignatieff. He's one of the few Canadian politicians I'm very familiar with, from all his writing (often in support of "TWOT") in the US.

One thing I learned very quickly here, though, is that various Canadians' scenarios and predictions of who's going to win what are just possibilities, not necessarily prescience.

Woti-woti said...

I can't figure out how Iggy got so high-profile in so short a time? Is the rest of the pack that crappy? What happened to Belinda? Methinks we Canadians allow our party leaders to be chosen in smoky backrooms a lot more often than we care to admit.
Is it that Belinda hasn't been a Liberal long enough, or her ideas are not liberal enough? Can the label-makers even tell the difference?
I'm for Belinda here and Hilary down south. That will give the good guys an extra half-billion muslim women, while the bad guys get the Bushes, Harpers et al. If there is a god, he/she/it will keep score on this one.

Woti-woti said...

BTW, L-girl, what is TWOT?

L-girl said...

I'm for Belinda here and Hilary down south.

Woti?? Are you kidding??

Hillary is an out-and-out hawk. She's a Republican, barely dressed up as a Democrat. She's Joe Lieberman with better hair.

Maybe I am reading you wrong and you are joking. Could be.

TWOT = the war on terror

Or as Allan would say The-War-On-Terror-TM.

I either call it TWOT or the so-called-war-on-terror.

Woti-woti said...

L-girl, thanks for TWOT.

Yeah, I'm serious about Hilary. I don't think she's anything other than an opportunist, who is independent enough not to be beholden to her backers like Bush is. In other words, she'll use them to get what she wants, then screw them.

My real belief is that politicians these days just follow the polls anyway. The next big expose is going to be on poll-rigging.

L-girl said...

The next big expose is going to be on poll-rigging.

I'm with you on that.

Re Hillary, I don't care that she's an opportunist, I figure most people are. However, she's seriously right-wing, and a hawk through and through.

I prefer to vote for women if at all possible, because women are so under-represented in government. But I would never vote for Hillary. I'd write in a vote for Eleanor Roosevelt before I'd vote for Hillary Clinton.

However, I'm never voting in the US again anyway, so my opinions are just that - opinions.

Woti-woti said...

Re: Hilary--since I like to be open-minded, any links to a profile on her?

redsock said...

LP wrote:

Liberals who ... can't bring themselves to endorse the NDP (which even I prefer as a conscience rather than a king)

From everything you've written and said, I would have bet $$ you were an NDP kind of guy. Why not?

P.S. I would think voting in accord with your conscience would be a good thing.

L-girl said...

Not profiles, but these might be useful.

from leftist sources:

From "In These Times":
Excerpt: "Hillary and her handlers thought that ignoring the war was the strategically smart thing to do. And they were right.

It turns out that Hillary has done a tremendous job—of getting New York Democrats to assume that because right-wing Republicans hate her she must oppose the war. Most New York Democratic voters also don’t realize that she co-sponsored an amendment to ban flag-burning, is against marriage equality for gays and lesbians, supports the death penalty, votes consistently for Star Wars appropriations and has served on the board of Wal-Mart for six years. Yet, she is consistently touted as the "liberal Democrat from New York."

From Counterpunch:
Excerpt: "Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is a perfect example; an elected senator who has served six years in her seat, never taking a strong stand in support of her constituents on any serious or controversial issue; a senator who has used her record-breaking TV public appearances to say "nothing"; a senator whose senate office adheres strictly to a motto of "See no Evil, Hear no Evil"; an elected official who has no record of conducting investigations into cases that are matters of great concern to her constituents and to our nation; a senator who has consistently stood quietly on the sidelines when the issues at hand demand public hearings ­waiting to determine the direction of each blowing wind; a politician who has spent all her focus and energy on a campaign of shallow publicity glitz and her PR empire behind it. Here are some documented illustrative examples..."

World Socialist Web Site:
"Hillary Clinton celebrates Israeli war crimes"

from the right-wing Washington Times:
"Hillary Clinton Goes Conservative On Immigration"

from the moderate Slate:
"Hillary Clinton's Anti-Abortion Strategy: Safe, Legal and Never"

The most amazing thing is that the right still hates her as if she's actually leftist - and the non-US world thinks she's this great progressive feminist.

Crazy.

L-girl said...

from The American Conservative:
Hillary The Hawk: "The The Democrats' Athena only differs from Bush on the details."

Woti-woti said...

Thanks. Interesting stuff. I'll keep my eye on her.

L-girl said...

I'm glad. I hope I didn't appear to be shouting. I'm not. :)

MattInTO said...

The Harper's suggestion was a great one. Fantastic article. So good that it finally proved the impetus to cancel my subscription to Macleans. Boy was that a mistake. We'd been subscribing to it for a little over a year and each week I've watched it slide ever rightward. It's gotten so now that I want to drive a truck over Barbara Amiel and Mark Steyn. - end rant - Anyhow, the Harper's subscription will be a breath of fresh air.

Woti-woti said...

L-girl said: "I hope I didn't appear to be shouting."

No, not at all. I was more startled to find out that I may be in the camp of "non-US world who thinks she's this great progressive feminist."

L-girl said...

I was more startled to find out that I may be in the camp of "non-US world who thinks she's this great progressive feminist."

Woti, if you are, you're not alone. It's a mystery to me how Hillary has managed to maintain her positive image internationally. Also, many of those same people don't realize the depth of hatred directed towards her, how so many Americans regard her as the spawn of Satan. (Or wife of Satan, I guess.)

The Harper's suggestion was a great one. Fantastic article.

Yay, so glad you picked it up. It's Allan's subscription, I don't read it every month, but when I do, I'm always sorry I skipped any issues.

So good that it finally proved the impetus to cancel my subscription to Macleans. Boy was that a mistake. We'd been subscribing to it for a little over a year and each week I've watched it slide ever rightward.

That's exactly what I've read about them. What a shame. I hope you told them why you canceled.

Lone Primate said...

From everything you've written and said, I would have bet $$ you were an NDP kind of guy. Why not?

It's a good question. :) Like most people, I've settled into a political groove over many years that fits with my personal philosophy and experience.

I came to political consciousness right around the time people really, really, really started getting tired of Pierre Trudeau in the late 70s. I latched onto Joe Clark, the Tory leader, and as a kid, I cheered him to victory in '79. Well, he had a minority and he managed to dither it away on his first budget, and Canadians brought Trudeau back in 1980. I was disappointed when the Tories dumped Clark for Mulroney in 1983 (but as I mentioned on WMTC previously elsewhere, that was largely Clark's own fault), but I still carried the Tory banner. I couldn't vote in 1984 but if I could have, I would have voted for Mulroney.

How bad was Mulroney? Well, I could vote by 1988, and I voted against him with everything I had (he still won; damn this country for fools). I hated Mulroney. I still do. That man was so odious he actually rehabilitated Trudeau in my eyes. Trudeau wasn't perfect, but by God he was far-sighted and gutsy. I suppose Mulroney was too, but in ways I don't consider it wise for this country to go.

Anyway... this was about the NDP, right? They just don't feel mainstream to me. I've voted for them provincially (I voted NDP the year Bob Rae became premier, for instance), but I don't think I ever have federally. I'm kind of at a loss to explain why I can't quite take them seriously as a government. I like a lot of their ideas, and they've prompted the country to do some great and important things. Maybe that's it... they're a little too dreamy. There's something pure about them in my mind that I don't want sullied by the realities of having to govern. I'd rather they sit at the government's left elbow and shame it into doing what it ought to do, rather than be the goverment facing the hard questions and taking the easy road... after all, if the NDP is in office, there's no NDP sitting at their left elbow playing the superego role! Only the Liberal ego and Tory id pulling it down to the right. We saw this with the Rae government. I personally think Rae did the best he could, but it really did spend a lot of the moral force the NDP had in Ontario and they're only just recovering it.

I know none of that makes good sense, but politics is often more about who we feel comfortable entrusting the state to, rather than how attractive the philosophy is. To be cynical, the Liberals have done a fantastic job implementing the NDP's social strategy and managing the Conservatives' fiscal policies. :)

L-girl said...

This is very interesting, LP.

I know none of that makes good sense, but politics is often more about who we feel comfortable entrusting the state to, rather than how attractive the philosophy is.

I don't think I adhere to this. I'm excited about the prospect of one day voting my conscience and actually having it mean something. Two years to go!