Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Kucinich Plan for Abandoning Iraq

Kucinich provides more clueless humor in his proposal to fix Iraq. His plan comes down to walk away and let someone else deal with it. I won't go into his political speech at the start. It's the usual horse-shit we expect from Kucinich.

To the plan: (emphasis original)
1. The US announces it will end the occupation, close military bases and withdraw. The insurgency has been fueled by the occupation and the prospect of a long-term presence as indicated by the building of permanent bases. A US declaration of an intention to withdraw troops and close bases will help dampen the insurgency which has been inspired to resist colonization and fight invaders and those who have supported US policy. Furthermore this will provide an opening where parties within Iraq and in the region can set the stage for negotiations towards peaceful settlement.
This is so much a joke that its really sad. By 'permanent' bases I'm assuming he's referring to the hardened bases that the troops have been using. Seeing that living in tents in areas with lots of terrorists carrying RPGs or mortars is a bad idea, this is just bloody stupid. He's equating permanence with safe. Even if the US chose to live in tents without fences, does this fool actually think that would slow or stop insurgent attacks. Announcements are just wonderful, if you expect those we're fighting to believe them. I'm wondering what rock Kucinich just crawled out from under. The insurgency isn't looking for a negotiated "peaceful" settlement. They are looking to drive the US and the allies out. Period.
2. . US announces that it will use existing funds to bring the troops and necessary equipment home. Congress appropriated $70 billion in bridge funds on October 1st for the war. Money from this and other DOD accounts can be used to fund the troops in the field over the next few months, and to pay for the cost of the return of the troops, (which has been estimated at between $5 and $7 billion dollars) while a political settlement is being negotiated and preparations are made for a transition to an international security and peacekeeping force.
Irrelevant. The US has no issue with paying for the return of troops and equipment. And again, another Dem assuming that this is solely a political solution. We'll get to that 'international security and peacekeeping force' shortly.
3. Order a simultaneous return of all US contractors to the United States and turn over all contracting work to the Iraqi government. The contracting process has been rife with world-class corruption, with contractors stealing from the US Government and cheating the Iraqi people, taking large contracts and giving 5% or so to Iraqi subcontractors.
There's a clever plan. No doubt there have been problems with the US contractors, but handing it all over to Iraqi contractors is to ensure failure. The US contractors have been making progress, I would be highly skeptical that the larger infrastructure projects would move at all even if one was able to find local contractors capable of doing the job. Corruption has been quite heavy on the Iraqi part and I don't see it solving that stability problem by handing contracts to the Iraqis.
4. Convene a regional conference for the purpose of developing a security and stabilization force for Iraq. The focus should be on a process which solves the problems of Iraq. The US has told the international community, "This is our policy and we want you to come and help us implement it." The international community may have an interest in helping Iraq, but has no interest in participating in the implementation of failed US policy.

It is well known that while some nations may see the instability in Iraq as an opportunity, there is also an even-present danger that the civil war in Iraq threatens the stability of nations throughout the region. The impending end of the occupation will provide a breakthrough for the cooperation between the US and the UN and the UN and countries of the region. The regional conference must include Iran, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
That's precious. Go ahead and tell them our policy. They definitely won't help with implementation. The two largest interested parties in Iran and Syria have no reason to assist us at all and instability is theirs to control. As for the rest of the international community, can Kucinich honestly believe that they would be willing to put any of their people in harms way? Not that they would be in harms way if they come in with the UN, but hiding in UN compounds won't exactly solve any problems.

Which gets us to the UN:
5. Prepare an international security and peacekeeping force to move in, replacing US troops who then return home. The UN has an indispensable role to play here, but cannot do it as long as the US is committed to an occupation. The UN is the only international organization with the ability to mobilize and the legitimacy to authorize troops.
Anyone want a shot as to why this is completely idiotic? Let's look at the success of UNIFIL say for an example. Lebanon is so much more stable due to their presence, right? Imagine doing that in Iraq. Lots of compounds for the UN to hide in while the present low level conflict rolls completely into a full blown civil war. Where will the UN troops come from? The UNIFIL mission took more than three months to get anywhere near a sustainable force. Does anyone believe that they are going to jump up to volunteer to step into a slow burning conflict over a very large region?

Should I wave the corruption flag at this one? The UN being so well known for their ethical use of resources, I'm certain they won't be demanding huge funds from the US to stand around doing nothing while their political arm stays in four star hotels in another country.
6. Develop and fund a process of national reconciliation. The process of reconciliation must begin with a national conference, organized with the assistance of the UN and with the participation of parties who can create, participate in and affect the process of reconciliation, defined as an airing of all grievances and the creation of pathways toward open, transparent talks producing truth and resolution of grievances. The Iraqi government has indicated a desire for the process of reconciliation to take place around it, and that those who were opposed to the government should give up and join the government. Reconciliation must not be confused with capitulation, nor with realignments for the purposes of protecting power relationships.
No one has been trying this already? Fascinating. I'm sure the UN would be great at oversight on this one. They are very effective at having long-winded conferences that come to no resolution, so I imagine they can do the same in Iraq. Let's hope they don't manage to inflame the situation more when they try and dictate to the Shia factions how to use their majority status.
7. Reconstruction and Jobs. Restart the failed reconstruction program in Iraq. Rebuild roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, and other public facilities, houses, and factories with jobs and job training going to local Iraqis.
I'm betting Kucinich is taking credit for this as an original idea, even though it's pulled straight out of the Iraq Study Group report. I'm wondering how he proposes to restart the failed programs when there isn't any US troops to provide security. Recall that most of the failed projects were ended due to the cost of security for the workers being more expensive than the project itself. I'm sure he believes that if the Iraqi contractors are doing the work there won't be any security issue. Not likely. Consider that the insurgents have an interest in being the group that provides the resources and the security for the local people, and stopping any reconstruction locks the public into a dependency on them for resources. Another complete detachment with reality.
8. Reparations. The US and Great Britain have a high moral obligation to enable a peace process by beginning a program of significant reparations to the people of Iraq for the loss of lives, physical and emotional injuries, and damage to property. There should be special programs to rescue the tens of thousands of Iraqi orphans from lives of destitution. This is essential to enable reconciliation.
That one is excellent. The allies must pay for the damages, even if they were caused by the insurgents or terrorists. How do you segregate the damages caused to a house when the owner was aiding the insurgents from collateral damages? Or do we just throw money at everyone and hope that it all comes out nice?

And I really want to know details on this one. How does Kucinich think you're going to be able to determine a valid claim from a false claim? You have to love throwing in the orphans with the reparations. Different issues, different solution.
9. Political Sovereignty. Put an end to suspicions that the US invasion and occupation was influenced by a desire to gain control of Iraq's oil assets by A) setting aside initiatives to privatize Iraqi oil interests or other national assets, and B) by abandoning efforts to change Iraqi national law to facilitate privatization.
I've been reading the oil reasoning again in the papers. Fascinating how a good crackpot conspiracy never goes away. A simple question on abandoning privatization, who's going to actually fix, maintain, and install the oil infrastructure to get the money for the people? Without the international oil companies, this isn't going to happen. No doubt they would buy the oil and even install the equipment with assurances that their investments are safe. Considering the punishment that they have been taking in South America and Russia, I'm certain that they are reticent to the idea of just giving away their resources.
10. Iraq Economy. Set forth a plan to stabilize Iraq's cost for food and energy, on par to what the prices were before the US invasion and occupation. This would block efforts underway to raise the price of food and energy at a time when most Iraqis do not have the means to meet their own needs.

11. Economic Sovereignty. Work with the world community to restore Iraq's fiscal integrity without structural readjustment measures of the IMF or the World Bank.
Yep, nothing being done here. Wonder how much that will cost. Sounds like this is a requirement to prop up their economy rather than get together with the oil resources and actually make money to become self supporting.
12 . International Truth and Reconciliation. Establish a policy of truth and reconciliation between the people of the United States and the people of Iraq.
Fluff and rubbish. Policies are wonderful, useless in this case, but wonderful. The overall political establishment in Iraq wants to secure the country. One way or another, they will get that, either by external intervention or having the majority crush the minority. This policy is just talk, and that gets you no where if there isn't any security.

Astounding lack of anything approaching reality.

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