What's your plan for Iraq after the war?

There’s been so much talk about the need for invasion, but what happens afterward? If you’re in favor of invasion, tell us how the US can insure stability in the country and the region. Also, how many lives, American, British, Australian and Iraqi, will it take? How long will a US presence be necessary?

What will happen to the Kurds? Will Iraq be split into multiple countries? How will other countries in the region react?

Wow, I really fouled that up.

Yes, we shall let them eat cake. Marvellous.

So, my argument and superior posting skills were too much for you, eh? (Heh, heh, heh…)

Well, ensuring stablility in the country and the region is a tall order. Especially if the region includes Isreal.

Since that country has never been stable, I don’t know that it’s fair to assume stabalizing it would be a requirement of success in a conflict with Iraq. If the region stablizes, then great, but this isn’t a requirement. I don’t think anybody is arguing that removing Saddam will solve all problems in the middle east.

I would imagine that success for me would mean minimal US and allied casualties, similar to Afghanistan. Also, minimizing collateral damage in Iraq. Since this was effective during the last war with Iraq there is no reason to assume it won’t be this time around.

My second criteria for success would be to remove Saddam from power. Exile, prison or death would be fine. Anybody who replaces him would be better.

As far as stablizing the country afterwards goes, the real factor is how involved the UN and US would be. We could just encourage the people to overthrow Saddam in the form of a military coup and very little would change. Or the entire country could be occupied by the UN while a new government is formed similar Afghanistan.

Uh, the last time a checked, Afghanistan is not over. Our two bases get attacked by rocket fire weekly.

Lots of comedy clubs, Wal-Marts, and Starbucks shops.

Well, I never said Afghanistan was “over”. But, do you have a cite for these weekly rocket attacks? What type of rockets are being fired at the bases?

Well insure absolute stability may be a bit severe, but I think most of the occupants of the region are more worried about US occupation than Saddam Hussein. I think what I’m looking for is providing a stable Iraq that doesn’t do anything to upset the already precarious balance in the region.

The last war with Iraq didn’t create a regime change. The fear of a protracted war with combatants in heavily occupied areas incurring high civilian casualties was another one of the reasons Saddam was left alone.

The population distibution, geography, and politics of Afghanistan are different from Iraq. Why do you extrapolate the same results?

What is “minimal”? Hundreds? A few thousand?

Even if they were violent religious fanatics bent on destroying the US? We wouldn’t place them in power, but they might usurp later if the country does not have functioning infrastructure. Democracy doesn’t always function well in harsh conditions. Especially if there hasn’t been a long standing tradition of it.

Also what of the possibility of ethnic tensions and the fragmentation of Iraq? Won’t the Kurds want their own country? Without a dictator to suppress them we may have all out civil war. How will we divide it up if we do?

I’m proposing in the event of a successful invasion.

How long do you expect a UN occupation to last? Why will it be successful?

If there is war, and or Saddam’s regime is toppled, I’d hope that the country will finally be open to archaeologists. As I understand, the country is absolutley rife with sites which have never been excavated, and given Iraq’s pre-history, it would be an amazing archaeological boon.

Hell, if we conquor it, I say the 51st state. Disney Baghdad, free, mandatory lower education. It would be a hella borderguard issue though. Since all countries in the area would have strict INS guidlines for visa and other applications.

How about the obvious (aka the Den Beste plan): US military government, later replaced by a representative democracy? Later as in when the oil proceeds have rebuilt the country instead of supplying palaces and gold-plated Rolls Royces to Daddy Saddam? Iraq would be a rich country, if it weren’t for Saddam’s excesses. Afghanistan is dirt poor, with no natural resources to speak of, which is why it’s filled with powerhungry warlords, and why you can’t really do anything but pour in aid packages. All Iraq needs is sensible management of its resources.

So what if there are Taliban remnants attacking US bases in Afghanistan? How on earth does this translate to Iraq, a mostly secular country run by a single dictator? There are few who hold any power in Iraq, and they can be dealt with. The rest live in abject poverty caused by those few. They’re mostly not religious nuts there. A benevolent, temporary occupation that vastly increases the quality of life, and helps turn Iraq into a successful nation will not breed any enemies.

The Marshall and MacArthur plans worked on Germany and Japan. Those were countries filled with nationalistic fervor, and they were bombed halfway to the stone age. Both flourished. Nothing so drastic will happen in Iraq. There are no Iraqi patriots. The war will be won quite easily. The costs of rebuilding and modernizing do not have to be paid for by American taxpayers. The costs will be covered by the Iraqi’s oil. Which, contrary to No Blood For Oil propagandists, will not be simply taken. Iraq will be allowed to sell it.

And how does this tie into the War on Terror? Who funds the Wahhabist madrassas that preach hate of the west and jihad? Who funds Al-Qaeda? Who stirs up the biggest shitstorms in the region? The House of Saud. In case you haven’t noticed, the US Military is shipping out of Saudi Arabia. When Iraq is occupied, it will serve as a base in the region. The dependence on Saudi oil will diminish, and they can be safely dealt with, as well as other hostile governments in the region. Iran will probably see a revolution soon, if not, it will be dealt with too, in time. The only way to stop terror is, like lefties love to say, getting at the root causes. The root causes, however, are criminal dictators who both impoverish their people as well as fund the madmen driving them into suicidal fervor. The only way to stop terror is to destroy and rebuild much of the Middle East.

At least, that’s what I think. Who knows, maybe I’m wrong and Rummy’s just got a really itchy trigger finger or Dubya’s pissed cause Saddam tried to kill his daddy.

I’d agree with most of that.

I’ve argued for a long time that the West, as we like to call it, is innately a good and fair concept (given the opportunity) and the Marshall plan proves that.

The idea of implementing a Marshall Plan into Iraq, and letting Iraq’s innate wealth rebuild itself in a fine way would really show up a few things in the Middle East - because the truth of the matter is a lot of those countries have very dubious claims to any sense of legitimacy. More than a few were “invented with the drawing of a line on a map” by the British and French in the 1920’s and the tribal heirarchies in place at the time have somehow continued to this day.

So, think of Iran and Iraq at the same time. My belief is this - Iran is amazingly more Western than we realise apparently. It has an unusually high number of University trained young people who are totally au fait with the fundamental goodness in the West - and the mullahs of Iran are really starting to get worried about this. Time and time again, history has shown that zealous fundamentalism dies outright in the face of quality education.

If Iraq, and Iran, were to turn themselves into prosperous, fair, democratic, middle class societies - the Middle East as we know it would be well on the way to re-inventing itself into a rather fine place I rather think.

If any country on the planet can implement a Marshall Plan in Iraq, and do it with honour and integrity without corruption, it’s the United States I rather think.

But you might need us Aussies to help you out with your beer supplies - heh heh heh.

pump it dry, use oil proceeds to fund war w/iran ---- then turn the trading spaces crew loose on our two new territories.

Then strongly garrison the country. Invite the UN to provide relief and help in rebuilding infrastructure.

Incidentally, if Saddam is already some way towards developing nuclear weapons, what would stop his democratically elected successor from finishing the job openly, without having to avoid UN inspectors, like Pakistan, India and Israel have already done?

Do the current UN resolutions apply to Iraq henceforth for ever? Could the new leader changer the name of the country and the borders, and then merrily trot out the nukes in the national interest of the new nation?

If so, what could stop him? Some kind of comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty perhaps?

We shall quickly move to establish a democracy in Iraq. Voters will be free to choose between any number of Approved Candidates. Naturally, this will involve some guidance on our part, some paternal wisdom applied so that Islamic fundamentalists, Baathists, and Kurdish seperatists don’t mislead a gullible public. The debate?

Achmed: My opponent does not sufficiently love America! I propose we build a McDonalds at the Dome of the Rock!

Abdul: My opponent is totally wrong! A Starbucks will be necessary as well!

Of course, they will need protection. A continuing military presence in Iraq will be necessary to foster the growth of a budding democracy. No doubt, this will be greeted in the Muslim world with glad cries of approval. And there is little question that a blubberingly grateful Iraqi citizenry will be only too happy to “chip in” some token pittance out of thier oil revenues.

Economic restucturing will be essential. Who better to turn to for advice and consultation than such wizards as Exxon, Chevron, and of course, Haliburton. No doubt these staunch advocates of free market economics are poring over thier spreadsheets even as we speak,working tirelessly through the night to best advance the cause of Freedom and Justice.

There will be minority voices, to be sure. Churlish and ungrateful talk of “hegemony” and “colonialism” are to be expected. Fuck 'em! We don’t care, we don’t have to! We’re the Americans!

So the consensus is that Iraq will be re-built in the image of a western secular liberal democracy. You’re not planning on leaving any time soon then?

Meanwhile all calls for statehood by Kurds and Shia groups will melt away in the face of the searing logic of democracy and pluralism (no problems in Turkey, Syria and Iran, so). Islamic groups won’t emerge rubbing their eyes following decades of Baathist oppression - it’s not like the development of a westernised society is their worst nightmare or anything. And the long term presence of US troops in the Gulf will not be a rallying cry for Al Qaeda. Got it.

Admit it - none of us have any real idea where war might take us. Maybe it’ll all work out for the best - a brutal dictator will be overthrown and a grateful populace will forge a bright future for Iraq, without unacceptable levels of casualties and no long term damage to regional or global stability. Maybe your easy certainty about the outcome will be justified. Maybe, but I doubt it.