Thursday, February 08, 2007
Rep Hank Johnson's Iraq Resolution (and Zakaria's proposal) http://goodwillhinton.com/congressman_hank_johnson_to_propose_new_iraq_resolution
I have introduced a resolution that officially recommends the Administration effectively take the targets off of the backs of our brave troops and pull them off of street patrol duty. Over four years into this war, this should be the sole function of those Iraqi troops ready to take on the task. Even if they are not fully ready, a credible argument can be and has been made that the violence will be significantly reduced with the reduction of U.S. troop presence. These troops should, in turn, be used to fortify the Iraqi government, allowing it to function more efficiently and provide the country with the strong central government it needs.
Maybe more importantly, we need to pay a debt we owe to innocent Iraqi civilians. We owe them what they have yet to receive since the beginning of American intervention – the ability to purchase food at the local market for their families without the fear of being blown up. Any unbiased observer of the Iraq situation would be hard pressed to legitimately argue that our current plan is truly making the streets of Iraq safer.
Will has the draft text of the resolution. I think this goes well in principle and concept with Fareed Zakaria's proposal earlier (see below the fold for excerpt)
So what should the United States do? First of all, Washington has to make clear to the Iraqi leaders that its continued presence in the country at current troop levels is not sustainable without some significant moves on their part.
Iraqi leaders must above all decide whether they want America there. Perhaps the most urgent need is for them to help build political support for the continued deployment of U.S. forces. Right now the massive U.S. presence is allowing Iraq's leaders a free ride. With the exception of the Kurds, many of them play a nasty game. They publicly denounce the actions of U.S. soldiers to win popularity, and then, more quietly, assent to America's continued involvement. As a result, the proportion of Iraqis who now support attacks on U.S. troops has risen to a breathtaking 61 percent. The Iraqi people's frustration with the occupation is largely the result of its ineffectiveness, the lack of security and jobs, and abuses like Abu Ghraib. But those past errors cannot be undone. Iraqis must also realize that we are where we are, and that they can have either a country with U.S. troops or greater chaos without.
Iraq's Parliament should thus publicly ask American troops to stay. Its leaders should explain to their constituents why the country needs U.S. forces. Without such a public affirmation, the American presence will become politically untenable in both Iraq and the United States.
Next, Iraqis must forge a national compact. The government needs to make swift and high-profile efforts to bring the sectarian tensions to a close and defang the militias, particularly the Mahdi Army. The longer Iraqi leaders wait, the more difficult it will be for all sides to compromise. There are many paths to help Iraq return to normalcy; jobs need to be created, electricity supplied regularly, more oil produced and exported. But none of that is possible without a secure environment, which in turn cannot be achieved without a political solution to Iraq's sectarian strife.
There is one shift that the United States itself needs to make: we must talk to Iraq's neighbors about their common interest in security and stability in Iraq. None of these countries—not even Syria and Iran—would benefit from the breakup of Iraq, which could produce a flood of refugees and stir up their own restive minority populations. Our regional gambit might well lead to nothing. But not trying it, in the face of so few options, reflects a bizarrely insular and ideological obstinacy.
overall, this is a more constructive and responsible type of approach than either "withdrawal" or "staying the course" or a "surge".
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