America's Only Decent Way Out Of Iraq

Sam Hamod 

05/27/04 "ICH" All kinds of alleged American experts on world affairs, including most of our senate and both Bush and Kerry have been saying that “America must stay the course.” But, as General Anthony Zinni pointed out, “The course is skrewed up. It’s like going over Niagra Falls.” But I believe America can get out of Iraq and save face at the same time; it’s not that difficult, but Bush and his minions will probably not take my advice. 

Here is my plan: 

First, we must make an agreement with others at the UN and nations in the Arab and Muslim world to pull all U.S. troops out of Iraq after June 30. We must also bring in a truly international force, headed by Arab and Muslim commanders and troops, with some support from other UN members who are seriously interested in peace in the Middle East. Having spoken with various Muslim and Arab ambassadors, and knowing how willing their nations are to help the Iraqi people regain their freedom and dignity, I know they will cooperate fully in order to get the American troops out of Iraq. 

Secondly, all contracts made by the Bremer and Garner administrations must be voided so that the new Iraqi government can make its own contracts, rather than be forced to accept the sweetheart contracts that have been made to cheat Iraq out of its wealth for the next 20 years. These contracts have been made illegally, by U.S. administrators and by a puppet “Iraqi Governing Council,” that actually had, and have, no legal authority to speak for the nation of Iraq—a nation under occupation. 

Thirdly, there should be discussions among the leaders of all factions and major tribal units in Iraq so that they may discuss what type of government they want. It may not be a Western type democracy, but as Ayatollah Sistani made clear in several speeches and in discussions with the UN’s Lakhdar Brahimi, “We understand democracy and we want a democracy, with a truly democratic election. We do not want a theocratic state like Iran; we prefer a state based on Islamic principles, but that is democratic and run by the rule of law and by elected officials, not run by Imams and Ayatollahs.” I am sure most Iraqis feel this way. But, if America stays on, it will lead to more fundamentalist forces gaining more power in Iraq, and this could destroy any hope for a non-theocratic Iraq. Time is running out in this arena. 

Fourth, after the Iraqis decide what type of government they want, then the UN, can help set up a proper democratic and fair election, with assistance and monitors from all over the world in order to elect their government. This also means that Iraq will remain united with their representative government of their own making. 

There have been some who have talked about cutting Iraq into three parts, for the Kurds, Sunni and Shi’a—but this would lead to more problems than good. In the present world, there are many countries that have different ethnic or racial majorities and minorities—they function well. As one friend of mine said, “If they want to cut Iraq up, then we in the South should be allowed to secede, since we don’t really like being run by New York and Washington.” If we divide nations by preference and ethnic groups, then we’ll have to divide over 80 nations of the world in Africa, Asia and in the Americas—not a good idea. 

The government of Iraq may then enter into agreements, work with other Muslim and Arab governments to get on its feet, and decide when they feel the nation is secure enough to have the troops leave. They will have had help training police, but there is already a nucleus of police and military left over from the Saddam Hussein regime. These people would most certainly focus on helping Iraq now that the dictator has been overthrown. They will function in Iraq, under Iraqis, but most of them will never be loyal to any American commanders, as the Americans found out in Fallujah and now in Baghdad. The American dream to have the Iraqis work with the Americans to dominate the country is just that, a dream that has nothing to do with reality. 

If America does this, it will show that it is truly interested in freedom and DEMOCRACY. If America doesn’t and tries to run Iraq through Ambassador John Negroponte or the newly appointed General Casey, we will lose thousands more troops, the fighting and bloodshed will not stop, costing the lives of Iraqis, treasure from both America and Iraq and America will find that it will make more enemies in the Arab and Muslim worlds. America will find that in order to truly dominate Iraq, they will have to kill off most of the Iraq population because since the torture at Abu Ghraib has become more widely known, no Iraqi will surrender. Most would rather die than to have those obscene acts performed on them. 

My plan is feasible, but I fear that Bush and his greedy friends in the Pentagon, with their macho fanaticism and mistaken values and misunderstanding of Iraq and Iraqis will put us into a quagmire that will be worse than Viet Nam. 

I fear if they don’t adopt a plan such as mine, Andy Rooney’s recent prophecy will come true-- when he warned America that other great empires lost their sense of decency and values, their greed for wealth, power and empire finally led to their collapse. As Rooney and others have pointed out, we’re not far from collapse morally, financially and militarily—though it appears that President Bush is not aware of how dangerously precarious things are at this time. 

Sam Hamod writes on world affairs, especially on the Middle East and Islam; he is the former editor of 3rd World News (D.C.), a former advisor to the State Depatment and is the retired Director of The Islamic Center of Washington, DC; he may be reached at . Hamod also taught at Princeton, Michigan, Howard and Iowa.

C Sam Hamod, May 25, 2004 

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