Peace and reparations for a confederated Iraq

The phrase, “You brake it, you own it,” that Colin Powell applied to Bush’s adventure in Iraq was totally out of context then and seems completely absurd now. America broke it, it’s true, but our inept leaders wouldn’t know what to do with all the pieces that are now Iraq. Glue them back together? Not in a hundred years! And the White House is in a daze these days not having a clue as to what to do next.

Escalation of the war is in this case, just as it was with Vietnam, but a way to prolong suffering for innocent people while bringing additional collateral destruction to a nation already in ruins. If the Pentagon needs to test Lt. Gen. David Petraeus’ academic-military genius they need to be reminded of their failure four decades ago with the strategy of wonder-boy, warrior-theoretician, Robert McNamara. Wise up! Let these bright people perform their postdoctoral research in endeavors that have human value and not criminal prowess.

If Iraqis are to have a future, put their lives back together again, America must exit now, while the 2 million Iraqis who have gone into exile – many of them professionals – are enticed to return to their land to help put back together the pieces of this Humpty Dumtpy that the United States is leaving for them.

By now, we mean an orderly de-occupation of all American forces in a period of six to 12 months… with no American bases left in that nation, gifting the recently built billion-dollar embassy in Baghdad as headquarters for a brand new Iraqi Confederation, for no other political arrangement would make sense now for those 25 million people.

If America wants eventual peace in the region, and make amends for its colossal error of invading Iraq, it should set up immediately a round table where Sunni, Shiite and Kurds can sit; and also invite as concerned guests – and not just observers – the Arab League, Turkey and Iran. And with all parties there ready to find equitable peace, and a way to draft a common future, America should preface any negotiations by presenting two timetables; one, where troops would exit Iraq in an orderly fashion within a period of six to 12 months; the other, where Americans would be expeditiously exiting the country.

During the prologue to the negotiations by the three major groups vying for their share of power in Iraq, America would make clear to all parties that it is ready to pay billions in reparations for the reconstruction of the country if hostilities would come to a halt during this year as American troops pull-out. If civil war ensues, all parties at the table would be admonished that the exit of American troops would not only be swift but that there would be no present or future reparations… none.

Most Americans are not predisposed to accept blame for anything related to world affairs or international politics, and have a definite aversion to the mere mention of war reparations – “aid” would be a more accommodating word to save face. Vietnam was left in shambles, and the word reparation was not even a murmur in either Nixon’s White House or the State Department. So why would the US pay reparations to Iraq?

I can think of three valid reasons. First, the prospect of reparations (or aid) would provide great incentive for peace and reconciliation of all Iraqi sub-nations and warring factions, particularly if other nations in the region are willing to match this sacrifice by the American people footing the bill. Second, it would be a fiscally sound decision for America, since a continuation of the conflict in Iraq would end up costing Americans considerably more in both dollars and blood. Third, and most important, it would be the right and ethical thing to do. Yes, “we broke it, we must pay to have it fixed,” but only by those who best know how, the Iraqis. The American corporate world should be totally left out of the reconstruction effort; and if American citizens feel a moral obligation to help, they should do so in some form of a civilian, peace reconstruction corps which would be specifically created for that purpose.

And just who would be sitting at that table? The leaders of the three peoples, or their representatives – pacifists or militants – would claim their seats, as would the envoys of the guest nations. For those questioning as to who those leaders are, don’t lose any sleep over it. Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds know who their leaders are without the need of elections to so determine. It is us, Americans, the heralds of democracy, who end up electing our leadership among politicians who more often than not turn out to be self-serving duds, particularly those who gain seats in Congress or get to live in the White House.

In his desperation, blindfolded by a lack of common sense and reason, Bush continues searching for a mythical victory in Iraq, while success for everyone, including the great majority of people in America, could be defined simply as peace. It is not saving face that is important, but rather showing that ours is still a face showing humanity. And if peace rules the day for Iraq, it can also do the same for Afghanistan and for the Holy Land… something that could happen in all three places, simultaneously and without delay.

There’s absolutely no reason for all these talks not to be taking place now, today, other than the prospect of little people with big egos not wanting it that way. But, to our misfortune, it’s these little people who determine our fate… individuals who refuse to acknowledge the mistakes they make, mistakes that the rest of us of necessity sooner or later must pay for. Let’s pay for the Iraq error now, while we can still afford it, before it’s too late; otherwise, when it comes to terror… “We ain’t seen nothing yet.”