What's your plan for Iraq after the war?

I sure wouldn’t want to leave any time soon. Marshall Plan is the best way, IMHO.

Hey, it might actually be a step in the right direction, as we would trade our position in Arabia for one in Iraq. It’s farther away from the Islamic Holy Sites, is it not?

Wow. I’m sure the middle east will love that plan. How long do you think it will take before military occupation of one the world’s largest oil supplies will turn into a successful democracy?
Would you care to address the ethnic tensions lurking in Iraq?

The US troops simply stationed in Saudi Arabia had terrorists flocking to Osama in droves. What effect do you think a full scale occupation in the middle east will have?

hmm very interesting. I wonder who gets to “manage” all of that oil?

please support this. Also address the average Iraqi’s opinion of the US.

Wow, so now we’re fighting a whole series of wars? And this fixation on the oil, I thought it wasn’t about the oil. :dubious:

My you are ambitious. Why don’t we just announce today that the governments of the world should just abandon their sovereignty so that the US can run things the right way? You think just like… oh I don’t know, a madman driving people into a suicidal fervor.

Baghdad Mc Donald’s. What a great leap forward for one of the world’s oldest civilizations. I say if we must go there and save our interests, get out asap as soon as it is done. There will be no shortage of takers to assume/resume control, and it will take them a few decades to become a threat to Western interests, by which time they will be little more than a good excuse for another domestically unpopular US president to start another war/invasion.

A general question for those who favor a Marshall plan approach. Is this something you can foresee the Bush Admin carrying out? IIRC they said they didn’t want to engage in nation building.

I guess I’d like to broaden the topic a bit and talk also about what the Bush admin plans to do. AFAIK they’ve said very little about this, so any info would be appreciated.

elucidator:

Gasp! A war could have a beneficial effect on the oil market! Well, that settles it, then. If something is good for the Evil Oil Barons™, then it must be itself evil. I hereby change my stance! No war against Iraq!

Wait… I just heard that a free market is beneficial to the Barons, as well. Well then, that settles it. Down with capitalism! Time to reform our nation into the Union of American Socialist Republics! National motto: Screw the Rich.

Ahem…

Anyway, as far as a plan to rebuild Iraq, I think it may be too lofty a goal to toss out Saddam and instantly set up a democracy. It’s entirely possible the people are not yet ready for democracy. We may need something to act as stop-gap between Evil Dictator and Benevolent Representative Government. Something along the lines of what Iran currently has. “But Iran is run by brutal Mullahs!” you say. Very true. However, the people have been given a taste of democracy, and have discovered that it tastes quite good. Their “elected officials” may be ineffective, given that they have to ultimately answer to Khaddafi, but they’re still something, and the people very much like the idea that they can shape their nation’s future. That’s why there’s a huge movement that wishes to boot the Mullahs and get Real Democracy, instead of just Democracy Lite.

Anyway, if we took such an approach with Iraq, we would have one key advantage over Iran’s current situation: we would have a hand in selecting the Supreme Leader that governed the nation in the meantime. Perhaps some sort of arrangement… “We support you and affirm your power, but when we tell you to step down, you step down.” And while he’s in power, we help the people set up a parliament of sorts. Think of it as Democracy with training wheels.

I dunno, just an idea. Certainly full-fledged democracy would be best if we can swing it, but if we can’t, this seems like a reasonable alternative.
Jeff

I can’t tell if this is sarcasm or not. Are you seriously suggesting that we go in, destroy their government, and then just leave them to their own devices? That’ll just result in some Saddam-wannabe taking the reins. If we’re not going to take a legitimate stab at helping the Iraqis create a working government, we shouldn’t be there in the first place.

Jeff

Actually your plan doesn’t sound all of that different from Rider’s.
We can’t just pick anyone as a succesor. They need to be someone with significant contacts and a closeness to the military or they won’t stand on their own. Remember we used to think Saddam was one of our boys back in the day. Once a supreme leader has power, they make their own decisions. Democracy lite could become democracy free in no time.

So, we just need Iraq to be stable, and not the region now. OK, well, a US or UN military occupation while a democratic government is installed would be more stable then the current situation of Saddam doing whatever his crazy little heart comes up with isn’t it?

No. The last war didn’t create a regime change because that was never a goal of desert storm. The US and allies went in to remove Saddam’s army from Kuwait, that’s it. There was never a plan to invade Iraq and remove him from power that got called off because we were afraid of casualties.

Because anti-war folks such as yourself claimed that success there would be impossible as well.

I am not going to pick a number out of thin air to give you here. There is no reason to believe the US casualties would even be in the hundreds. Iraq’s army was much stronger last time, and there were few casualties then.

Your questions about the Kurds and possible fragmentation of a post-Saddam Iraq and success of a UN occupation are good ones. There are people a lot smarter than I working on these issues. So what if the country spits into two. Why is that inherently a bad thing? Do you have any reason to suspect that a UN occupation would not work? You seem to think that success in Iraq is impossible, but questions similar to these could be asked about any situation where the US is about to go to war.

If you are against this war for some moral reason then you should argue that rather than just roll your eyes and declare that a victory there is impossible.

There will be a certain amount of time where I think it can work. The question is, how long will it take? What is this war getting us into and do we have the guts to stick it out?

Maybe because we realized it wasn’t a practical goal, or rather the political will was not there to carry it out.

So if anti-war folks said jumping off a building was dangerous, would you jump?
It seems to me you’re just trying to justify your ignorance of the situation.

So IOW you have no clue.

I wasn’t just referring to the US casualties. “Collateral Damage” and Iraqi troops will be dying too.

Maybe you should come with answers to these questions, before proposing a war that raises them.
Contemplate Bosnia for a little while and you can see some of problems that arise from the fragmentation of a country.

Well, so far the UN hasn’t proposed invasion, so I don’t know that they would have the stomach to stick it out especially if ethnic tensions started to rise.

Well yes these questions should be raised and discussed when we go to war.

I don’t think success is impossible, but I want to know what the plan is at least. So far everything is pretty damn vague and not that well thought out.

Well, judging by you and other pacifists, many don’t have the guts to even try.

Are you just making this up as you go along? Please show some evidence of how the first Bush administration came to the decision of not taking out Saddam due to practical or political considerations.

If no such evidence exists, this notion should be discarded as conjecture on your part that has no basis in reality.

No, I wouldn’t jump. But, if every time the US considers military action the anti-war folks predicted a failure, I would stop listening to them. Which is exactly what I am doing.

How can I have no clue on such an arbitrary and meaningless number? If I say “The acceptable level of US casualties in the coming conflict is 5,000”. Then what? If 5001 US troops die then it’s a failure? If 4,999 die then it’s a success? Your desire to have me put a number on what is acceptable is meaningless. I won’t play this game.

In my first post in this thread I said:

Which you then quoted (If you quoted it, I am assuming you read it) and replied:

You didn’t mention Iraqi troops or civilians until now. We were discussing US and Allied casualties and you know it. Don’t try to change horses mid-stream.

I disagree. First we should decide if it is nessesary to remove Saddam from power. Then once that decision is made the question should be asked “is this possible?”. The arguments you are making could be made about any country on the planet. To change a regime there is always a risk of fragmentation of the country, there will always be a risk of high casualities in a war, there will always be a risk of the homefront loosing patience with the progress of a war. Just because every possible scenario isn’t spelled out for you at this moment doesn’t mean there isn’t a high chance of success.

There is every reason to believe that the US will be able to remove Saddam from power with minimal US casualites. We bombed Baghdad during desert storm with precision that didn’t kill civilians recklessly. Even if rebuilding efforts fail, which we have no reason to think would happen, the situation in Iraq coult hardly get any worse. If the country splits into different groups I still fail to see how this is worse than a madman being in charge that starves his own people while building Weapons of Mass Destruction.

MY PLAN? I have no plan…however, a good friend of mine, “Mustaffa”, who is an Iraqi Kurd and who has personally faced the hatred of the great devil Saddam himself, most certainly has a few good plans. And I think he is one of the people who deserve to answer this question, and one of the only who can. Unless you are Iraqi, what right would any non-Iraqi have for having plans for Iraq after the war?

errata:

Rider’s plan, if I recall, was essentially “fuck 'em”. I don’t think that idea will work too well. True, we don’t have unlimited control over who becomes leader, but we will have significant influence. And Saddam was never one of our boys - he was simply the lesser of two evils (between him and Khadaffi).

Honestly, I think the post-war reformation of Iraq would go more smoothly than it is in Afghanistan. There are fewer strong factions in Iraq vying for control, which makes things easier, right there. And things in Afghanistan could be better, but aren’t really bad, considering.

Any plan would have to have some sort of long-term goal system that eventually result in democracy. Frankly, I’m not the one to figure it out. Leave that to the people who are experts in the field. And sorry, but:

Doesn’t hold. I have faith the answers are out there, but it’s unreasonable to expect that war isn’t justifiable unless us laypeople can come up with the solutions ourselves. Would you have required that I come up with a working moon lander before you would agree with our attempt to land on the moon?
royjwood:

We have the right to influence the shape of the Iraqi government after the war for the same reason a parent has a right to influence his child’s eating habits. We know what we’re doing and have the capacity to organize things and the experience to know how democracy works. Iraqis don’t. We need to show them the ropes, and get them on the right track. If we simply leave them to their devices, what you’ll get are a flood of people with “a few good plans” fighting each other, until whoever could mobilize the best fighting force wins. Yeah, that’s a winner of a post-war doctrine.
Jeff

Jeff,

That is like saying that you have the right to teach my children what you think is right and wrong.

“WE” have no right over any other sovereign country, hence the sovereign.

The UN is probably the only organization with a legitimate avenue of input.

It is up to the people of Iraq to choose the government that is best suited for them.

No one else has that right.

However, I do agree that we can make suggestions to the Iraqi people, but it is still their choice, and their choice alone.

Would you appreciate another government trying to tell you they have a right to force their concept upon you and your government / country?

I think not.

Debaser - I assumed errata was referring to the portion of your initial post that mentioned "Also, minimizing collateral damage in Iraq."

I wonder how many Iraqi citizens - armed forces AND civilians, died as a result of the previous war and its aftermath? And how their quality of life compares to what it would have otherwise been?

I am not saying that repelling Iraqi troops from Kuwait was not a desirable goal (at least not in this thread), but my impression is that there was considerable collateral damage resulting from our prior military action.

The Atlantic Monthly had a lengthy cover story a couple of months back, addressing the difficulty of predicting what our post-invasion plans/options might be. For all we know, we might depose Hussein, and find ourselves immediately at war with the rest of the Arab world. Might affect our actions. Delay the opening of the first McDonalds.

The biggest problem with Afghanistan it that it could fall apart at any moment. The way that Iraq has been bombed into the stone age, the probability that it will only get worse with an invasion, means that I expect similar problems in Iraq. Which is not to say it isn’t managable, but as I said, the Bush Admin has at least said at one point they didn’t want to do any nation building. The middle east is a more sensitive region than Afghanistan, I question the UN’s commitment to Iraq as well.

Then find out what a knowledgable person thinks about this. Don’t just throw your hands up in the air. If you don’t care about foreign policy then fine, don’t take a stance. But if you propose changing the status quo, especially a change that requires the deaths of unknown amounts of people, you should know what you’re talking about.
Do you even know what the Bush Administration’s plan is? Who exactly are you trusting to figure this out?

got it.

Dinsdale,

I was there for part one,and let me tell you this, any “civilians” that we accidentally killed could not come even close to the number that Saddam and his forces slaughtered and tried to blame on us.

How can I make that statement, well, I treated chemical weapons burns on the civilians, I watched a 2yr old girl die from a 7.62 x 39 round to the chest (iraqi AK-47), I watched as the Hind attack helicopters fired hundreds of rockets and thouseands of rounds of ammo into the un-armed civilians as they tried to escape the murder. But then they tried to accuse us.

I whole-heartedly agree that a regime change is a necessity for the people of Iraq. However, I still feel that they should have the power to choose their replacement government.

Society does have a right to remove your children from you or put them in prison if they are running wild and endangering others.

The US does have a right to protect it’s interests abroad. Iraq signed a treaty at the end of the first gulf war which it has repeatedly violated. They have violated nearly 20 UN resolutions. The US has every right to act, if the UN fails to.

Yep. That’s why no US citizens will participate in the first freely held elections in Iraq. Only Iraqi citizens will.

Do you think that the people of Iraq have chosen Saddam? Would they choose him again?

If I were living under the rule of Saddam, absolutely I would! You think we should suggest they overthrow this ruthless dictator on thier own? Should the US have simply suggested to the German people that they overthrow Hitler?

You aren’t even drawing a line here and saying that Iraq hasn’t done enough to justify removing Saddam from power. You seem to be saying that in no situation ever would the US be justified in removing him from power. I don’t intend this to be a strawman, but please clarify if this is as it seems. If so, it’s a laughable argument.

:smiley: Very good.

royjwood
Thanks for your personal perspective. Are you aware of any sources that attempt to systemmatically calculate the damage caused by local vs foreign forces? Including deaths/illness related to damaged infrastructure, inequitable distribution, trade restrictions, etc.

One aspect most difficult in evaluating issues such as this is trying to find accurate, comprehensive, and unbiased information.