A plan for Iraq
The McGovern-Polk Plan Summary and Highlights
1. Staying in Iraq is not an option. Withdrawal is not only a political imperative but also a strategic requirement. Withdrawal is not without cost (neither is staying), but it is also inevitable and we will pay costs at some point. The decision to withdraw soon will not require additional expenditures on the contrary it will effect massive savings. We are not advocating "cut and run" we are urging an orderly withdrawal on a reasonable schedule that will prevent further damage to U.S. interests.
2. The Iraq government would be wise to request the short-term services of an international force to police the country during and immediately after the period of American withdrawal. Such a force should be temporary with a firm date fixed in advance for withdrawal. Our estimate is that such a force would be needed for two years during this period the force would be slowly but steadily cut back. It's focus should be limited to public security. Such a force would be most acceptable if its composition were drawn from Arab or at least Muslim countries, as suggested by Brent Scowcoft in a Washington Post column of January 16, 2006.
3. During the period of withdrawal if the Iraqi government requests U.S. assistance the U.S. should do all it reasonably can to assit it in embodying and training a permanent national police force. Once the American troops are withdrawn, the Iraqi public is unlikely to continue to support the insurgents, so the level of combat is almost certain to fall. This has been the experience in every comparable guerilla war. The American withdrawal plan should include a provision of $1 billion to help the Iraq government create, train, and equip such a force the cost of four days of the American occupation.
4. America should immediately release all prisoners of war it holds and close detention centers. Physical control of former members of the Iraqi regime who have been indicted by the Iraqi government should be made to the Iraqi government. A respected nongovernmental organization should be appointed to process claims of and pay compensation to those who have been tortured as defined by the Geneva Convention.
5. America should not encourage the growth and heavy armament of a reconstituted Iraqi army as such have frequently acted against civil governments and Iraqi citizens. The U.S. should encourage the transfer of soldiers it has already recruited to a national police force or to a national reconstruction corps. The U.S. should commit to an allocation of $500 million, the cost of two days occupation, for the training of a national reconstruction corps.
6. Withdrawal of U.S. forces must include immediate cessation of work on U.S. military bases. Fourteen so-called "enduring bases" are under construction and five are already built massive bases amounting to virtual cities.
7. Americans should withdraw from the Green Zone, their vast sprawling complex in the center of Baghdad. The U.S. is spending $1 billion on its headquarters in the Green Zone, which contains or will contain some three hundred homes, Marine barracks and 21 other buildings along with its own electrical, water and sewage systems. This should be turned over to the Iraqi government.
8. Before the turnover the U.S. should buy, rent or build a "normal" embassy for a much-reduced complement of U.S. officials. This should be outside of the Green Zone so it is symbolically not part of the occupation.
9. Mercenaries (euphemistically known as Personal Security Detail) now amount to 25,000 armed men a force larger than the British troop contingent hired directly or indirectly by the U.S. government. They must be withdrawn rapidly and completely. The way to withdraw them is simple stop the payments we make to them.
10. The U.S. must assist in digging up and destroying the land mines and unexploded ordinance and clean-up the depleted uranium in artillery shells and their targets. Much of this work should be turned over to Iraqi contractors in order to employ Iraqis but it does require professional training. The U.S. should make available a fund of $250 million one day's occupation to assist in the survey and planning the removal.
11. Rebuilding should be, and can be, done by Iraqis, alleviating the socially crippling rate of unemployment. The U.S. should make a generous contribution to this effort in the form of grants and loans through the Iraqi government. This will also increase the power of the government. The U.S. should also allocate funds for survey, planning and organization of the rebuilding of the Iraq economy a sum of $1 billion (four days of wartime expenditures). After this survey the U.S. and Great Britain should determine in consultation with the Iraqi government what it is willing to pay for. Parallel to reconstruction should be the demolition of the ugly monuments of warfare, i.e. dismantling and disposing of miles of concrete blast walls and wire barriers erected around American installations. Further U.S. destruction of Iraqi cultural sites, including building military installations on top of them, needs to be corrected and a fund of $250 million (one day of war) should be made available to assist in the restoration of these sites. Rebuilding should also include civic institutions where the U.S. should provide fellowships for the training of lawyers, judges, journalists, and a variety of nongovernmental social workers. This should cost $500 million (two days cost of war). Many skilled Iraqis have left their country and the U.S. should assist in encouraging their return, another $500 million should be provided for this effort.
12. An independent accounting of Iraqi funds is urgently required. This will cost approximately $100 million. If funds were misappropriated or misused they should be repaid.
13. The U.S. should make reparations to Iraqi civilians for loss of lives and property it caused. The British have already begun to do so in their zone. The U.S. already authorizes individual military units to make condolence payment of up to $2,500. This amount compares to $400,000 paid to beneficiaries of an American military casualty. If the number of unjustified deaths is 50,000 and compensation is $10,000 per person the probable total allocation would be approximately $500 million. If the number of those incapacitated is between 15,000 and 25,000 (the best we can make) and the same payment is made the total cost would be about $200 million.
14. The U.S. should not object to the Iraqi government voiding all contracts for petroleum exploration, development, and marketing made during the American occupation, so these can be renegotiated or thrown open to fair bidding.
15. The U.S. should encourage with large-scale assistance various UN agencies including the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Food Program and the Food and Agricultural Organization as well as nongovernmental organizations to help reconstitute organizations to help reconstitute the Iraqi public health system. While this is a massive undertaking the total cost of such rebuilding would only amount to eight days of the occupation, about $1.7 billion.
16. Finally, America should express its condolences for the large number of Iraqis killed, incapacitated, incarcerated, and/or tortured. A simple gesture of conciliation would go far to shift our relationship from occupation to friendship. It is a gesture without cost but with immense value.