To end this conflict we must first come clean about why we went in to Iraq and what we hoped to achieve. Without honestly enunciated goals, how can we be sure we are making progress? If we look at the situation on the ground, the results of the war could lead us to believe that our goals were (a) to destroy infrastructure and create profitable rebuilding contracts for American multi-national corporations; (b) to establish a pro-western government; (c) to renew access to oil reserves; (d) to distract the American public from the fact that their own freedoms were being abridged as their government sought to consolidate power and wealth for themselves and their benefactors.Here's my comment in response to the post. I would encourage you all to either post solutions in the comments here or over at Ken's location:
If these were the goals, then success is still only partially won. We have shoveled tons of tax dollars into multi-nationals like Halliburton, and we have been distracted from all sorts of domestic trickery. But we certainly don’t have better access to oil, at least not in any way that affects the consumer. And the new Iraqi Constitution is hardly a document that embraces the West. But I don’t remember hearing any of this used as rationale for war. I do remember talk of imminent danger from WMD’s. I recall claims of collaboration with the terrorists who actually did attack America on multiple occasions. I even think I heard “spreading democracy” as a justification for war, an opportunity to help release an oppressed people from the iron grip of a dictator. So how are we doing there? Well, still no real evidence of WMD’s, no solid ties between the government of Saddam and al-Qaeda, and not quite the democracy we’d hoped for. Democracy based in Islamic law? That will be interesting to see...
...Step five would be to return to the actual business of hunting down terrorists instead of wrecking societies at random, which coincidentally, is what the terrorists do. We should lead the way in the formation of an international anti-terrorist force that is comprised of troops and resources from all nations that support the fight against radical religious terror. The war on terror, though greater in scope than other violent acts, is still primarily a task of hunting down small groups and removing them much as a doctor excises a tumor. In the rare case where another government actively harbors and supports terrorist activities, this force could be increased in size and scope to marginalize and isolate that country until the threat was removed. Such a force could only be successful if a consistent definition of terrorist is agreed upon, say one that focuses on the actions rather than the ideology behind them. For starters, any act that targets a large group of civilians for no reason other than to make a political point would be an obvious act to include in that definition.
This is where I like President Carter and his ideas on how to render a solution. The first step, I think is for the W, Rove and Co. to come clean. He mentioned on Larry King Live the other day that this is the one thing Reagan did well with Iran Contra - he stepped up and took the heat. This is unlikely as the W, Rove and Co seem to be dead set to deny their culpability to their graves - and even beyond on down to hell if you believe in it.Blog on All.
Even so, I like your grassroots approach to identifying the real reasons for the invasion of Iraq. Actions speak louder than words indeed.
I would have to disagree with you on an entire pull out - I think the bases we have in Iraq now, may prove valuable in the future - but like we have bases in Europe, we don't need to be executing military exercises on the citizenry simply because we can. It could serve the misson of the US to return most or a majority of the troops, but to pull out completely may be folly. These bases were hard fought and won, and could be worth keeping long term.
Of course, I don't think we should have gone in at the outset, but now that we are there and given the damage we have done we must own the solution.
President Carter also mentioned one other solution I liked a lot. How about opening up the rebuilding efforts to the global community - you know, a competitive bidding processes - much unlike Halliburton is used to - and let the world benefit from the very necessary infrastructure contracts, and the like. We don't need to close out our allies in this matter - in fact, it would produce buckets of good will if we were to allow for competitive bidding and open processes so that it is not just the US of A that wins here. It's about sharing the wealth, no?