By David Swanson
Our President is pretending that the Democrats have no plan for Iraq, and the media is repeating that pretense unchallenged. But a lot depends on which Democrats we look to. DNC Chair Howard Dean has no more plan than Bush himself. Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich published a plan in 2003 — that’s THREE YEARS AGO — that puts Bush, his party, and some of the Democrats to shame. Here it is, unaltered, from 2003:
The Kucinich Plan to Bring Our Troops Home
“The war in Iraq is over and the occupation has turned into a quagmire. The United States troops have become the targets of criminals and terrorists who are flowing into Iraq for the chance to kill Americans. The cost of the occupation keeps rising: The President has already asked for more than $155 billion to pay for it, and there is no end in sight. The United Nations is now in an impossible situation, where most of the members view the war and occupation of Iraq as a U.S. folly. Under these circumstances, the U.N. is unlikely to help. And U.N. assistance with a U.S. occupation would not allow the establishment of an Iraqi government that was acceptable to the Iraqi people.
“US military casualties in Iraq have now exceeded 500, and the media has begun comparing the figure to the number of US dead in Vietnam in 1965 prior to the significant expansion of US operations there.
“Other Democrats join the Bush Administration in explaining that ‘We can’t cut and run.’ I say we can’t continue the damage we are causing and cannot begin repairing it until we withdraw our occupying army. We must pay for what we destroyed. We must pay reparations to the families of innocent civilians we killed and injured. But we must work through the United Nations. We must allow the United Nations to facilitate the creation of a democratic government that will be acceptable to the Iraqi people. No government created by the United States will be. It is better that we recognize this now than after the next 500 deaths.
“If we stay the course it will do damage to American security. Iraq was not responsible for 9/11 and had no weapons of mass destruction. It was wrong to go in and it’s wrong to stay in. The demands of an occupation are overstretching our armed forces. And the extended deployment of reserve forces makes us vulnerable at home. The reserve call-ups include large numbers of firemen, policemen and other first responders who are needed for hometown security. Americans are asking, is there a way out? I say there is. This is my plan to get the U.N. in…and the U.S. out of Iraq! This plan will bring our troops home within 90 days of U.N. approval, and strengthen American security.
“The following is the only detailed plan from any candidate for President that will quickly bring all US troops home from Iraq.
1. The United States must ask the United Nations to manage the oil assets of Iraq until the Iraqi people are self-governing.
2. The United Nations must handle all the contracts: No more Halliburton sweetheart deals, No contracts to Bush Administration insiders, No contracts to campaign contributors. All contracts must be awarded under transparent conditions.
3. The United States must renounce any plans to privatize Iraq. It is illegal under both the Geneva and the Hague Conventions for any nation to invade another nation, seize its assets, and sell those assets. The Iraqi people, and the Iraqi people alone must have the right to determine the future of their country’s resources.
4. The United States must ask the United Nations to handle the transition to Iraqi self-governance. The UN must be asked to help the Iraqi people develop a Constitution. The UN must assist in developing free and fair elections.
5. The United States must agree to pay for what we blew up.
6. The United States must pay reparations to the families of innocent Iraqi civilian noncombatants killed and injured in the conflict.
7. The United States must contribute financially to the UN peacekeeping mission.
8. The United Nations, through its member nations, will commit 130,000 peacekeepers to Iraq on a temporary basis until the Iraqi people can maintain their own security.
9. UN troops will rotate into Iraq, and all US troops will come home.
10. The United States will abandon policies of “preemption” and unilateralism and commit to strengthening the UN.
“I will work tirelessly to take America in a new direction, to gain approval of this plan at the United Nations, and to put it into action, bring all US troops home in 90 days. Only if the United States takes a new direction will we be able to persuade the UN community to participate. Such a new direction is reflected in this 10-point plan.
“As President I will go to the U.N. and announce America’s intention to abide by this plan if approved by the U.N.
“I will ask the U.N. Security Council to ratify a new resolution on Iraq that would deploy a multinational force under UN mandate to keep the peace in Iraq while the interim Iraqi government receives U.N. support and a new Iraqi government is elected. It is my plan that within one month, the first U.N. troops and support personnel will arrive in Iraq, and the first U.S. troops will be sent home. U.N. peacekeeping troops and Iraqis who are commissioned as police and military will replace the U.S. In place of the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority, the U.N. will open an office to direct the repair to infrastructure damaged by U.S. invasion. In two months, the U.N. will begin to conduct a census of the Iraqi population to lay groundwork for national elections. At the same time, new temporary rules for the election will be promulgated, guaranteeing universal suffrage on a one-person, one-vote basis. During the transition period, a Memorandum of Understanding between the American and U.N. force commanders for a turnover period will settle the question of who commands the troops. By the end of month three, all U.S. troops will have returned home.
“In month four, a major milestone will be reached when Iraqi sovereignty is established. A nationwide election will take place to elect representatives to a Constitutional Convention. The Convention will have two duties: 1) elect a temporary Prime Minister who appoints a cabinet to take over responsibility from the Iraqi Governing Council, and 2) draft a national constitution. Accountability of this Prime Minister is achieved by virtue of the fact that he can be recalled by a majority of the Convention.
“In one year, there will be nationwide elections pursuant to the new Constitution, which will
install an elected government in Iraq.
“The U.S. owes a moral debt to the people of Iraq for the damage caused by the U.S. invasion. The U.S. will also owe a contribution to the U.N. to help Iraq make the transition to self-government. American taxpayers deserve that their contributions be handled in an accountable, highly visible manner. However, Americans are not required to build a state-of-the-art infrastructure as the Administration is planning. The Administration is ordering top-shelf technology from U.S. corporations for Iraq, paid for by U.S. taxpayers. Sweetheart deals have been awarded with billions of dollars to top corporations and political contributors. This is precisely what corrupts the Administration’s reconstruction efforts today. Instead, Iraqis should be employed to repair Iraq, and U.S. taxpayers should pay only for the damage caused by the U.S. invasion, including compensation for its victims. U.S. taxpayers should not be asked to furnish Iraq with what we do not have here!
“The war and occupation in Iraq have been costly in other ways too. One price America has paid is the loss of our moral authority in the world. The Administration launched an unprovoked attack on Iraq, and the premises of the war are proving to be false. This has cost us our credibility and done serious harm to America’s standing in the world. After the attacks of 9-11, the world felt sympathy for us. But this war and the occupation have squandered that sympathy, replacing it with dangerous anti-American sentiment throughout the world.
“America must make a dramatic reversal of course: we must acknowledge that the continued U.S. military presence in Iraq is counterproductive and destabilizing. We have a choice in front of us: either we change course, withdraw our troops and request that the U.N. move in, or we sink deeper into this occupation, with more U.S. casualties, ever higher financial costs, and diminished security for all Americans.
“We need a real change. My plan will bring the troops home in 90 days, transfer authority to the U.N. with provisions made toward a rapid transition to Iraqi sovereignty, and save billions of dollars. It will enable the U.S. to think creatively about how to deal with threats that come not from established countries with conventional armies (our armed forces are more than adequate to that task), but rather threats that come from networks of terrorists and criminals who use unconventional means to injure Americans. We must also apprehend the criminals who masterminded the 9-11 attacks on our nation, a goal that is hindered by the occupation of Iraq. Lastly, my plan will also enable the U.S. to redirect scarce resources to rebuild America.”