My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

How to get out of Iraq (Part 3 of 3)

Oil, of course, cannot be neglected. One of the Iraq war's many mysteries is the curious lack of discussion of oil production and distribution. A final piece in the plan to end United States occupation should be the creation of an Iraqi national oil company, composed of a consortium of the Iraqi Oil Ministry and major international producers, empowered by law to build modem petroleum production and distribution facilities with revenues fairly distributed by national law to all Iraqis. The charter of this national oil company, by establishing fair revenue-sharing allocations, will go very far in allaying the fears of Sunnis and other minorities that oil wealth will be divided between the Shiites and the Kurds, on those territories most of the oil resources are located.

These elements of an occupation-ending policy—know your enemy, divide and conquer, welcome help. Create economic unity, and share burdens and rewards—are complementary and self-reinforcing. By dividing national insurgents from jihadists, we have much greater hope of ending the insurgency and crushing the jihadists. By negotiating mutual disarmament between national insurgents and the U.S. military, we have much greater hope of sharply reducing violence and bringing the Sunnis into the political mainstream. By declaring that the United States plans no permanent military presence, we clarify American intentions to the Iraqi people, to the American people, and to the world. By making NATO the bridge between the U.S. occupiers and permanent Iraqi security capabilities, we defuse anger and violence against the United States. By engaging broad-based Western financing and construction capabilities, we sharply reduce the financial burdens on the U.S. Treasury and share both burdens and rewards of reconstruction. And by establishing an Iraqi national oil production and revenue sharing entity, we eliminate the accusation that the United States invaded Iraq for its oil, and we guarantee that all Iraqis will share in its benefits.

Obviously, many other pieces and nuances can be added to this policy outline. It is offered here not as a definitive solution but to demonstrate that alternatives exist to the destructive "stay the course" rhetoric. It is meant further to be proof to a strangely silent Democratic leadership that constructing an opposition party plan for Iraq is not, in the currency of the day, "rocket science."

As distracting as Iraq has become—unnecessarily, to my mind—it cannot be permitted to prevent our current administration from addressing a host of even greater challenges swiftly and often silently around us. Future generations of Americans must learn from both the Vietnam and Iraq experiences that the American superpower must not permit itself to become so obsessed with one crusade that it neglects its global responsibilities. While we slog through the problems of Iraq, large-scale events are transpiring across the planet that desperately call for our attention.

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