Step 1: Bush Eats Crow (1 day)
The ONLY first step that can be taken to get out of Iraq would be a major speech by President Bush in which he makes the following points.
He made a mistake going in into Iraq in the first place without the full support of the International community. Nothings changed, we still need them to win.
The "Coalition of the Willing" was too limited and too weak from the beginning and in effect became the US coercing Britain and some really small countries into signing on to the war without providing substantial troops or resources. This is a unilateral approach to international problems and it has never worked, did not work this time and it must be made clear for future generations that it will never work.
- He apologizes for ostracizing France, Germany and Russia in the run up to the war.
- He apologizes to the people of Iraq for breaking their country with no plan to fix it.
- He apologizes to the soldiers for the poor planning at the highest levels that has put them in the position they are in today in Iraq.
- He apologizes to the American people for the inadequate planning and oversight that has wasted over a third of a trillion dollars of their children's and grandchildren's money with no end in sight. (A soldier on Book TV over the weekend said that the day after Baghdad fell, he was told by a paniced officer that there was NO PLAN for reconstruction from the top levels and that the two of them had 24 hours to create one on the ground...)
If Bush could do this, he would have taken the boldest step ever taken by a world leader in history. The good will it would promote worldwide would be historic. Notice I'm not calling for him to admit that he fixed the evidence, that wouldn't hurt and is certainly provable, but not productive in this plan.
Step #2: Ask for Broad Help-World Summit on Iraq Stability (1 month)
At this point it is absolutely necessary that we draw in as many world leaders as possible to hold a World Summit on Iraq Stability. This needs to happen in Geneva for the symbolism and it needs to include everyone who will come with no reprecussions for leaving a home state. If Castro wants to participate, he should be allowed to participate without fear of arrest. This needs to be a punishment free summit on peace. All the world leaders should be involved in crafting the best, fastest and most effective way to end the war.
They should also as a world community communicate to the Iraqi people that their future is of upmost importance to the world community and that the world community is willing to step in to end the chaos. Universal input from the World Community in the form of World Unity on the the plan and the goal (a peaceful stable and unified Iraq) is absolutely crucial to success.
Step #3: UN Troops (3 months)
If the US would do the above, the next step would logically be to send in more troops to Iraq. Stability is of utmost importance in the reconstruction and the main obstacle to it. McCain is partially correct, Iraq DOES need more troops, he is wrong in that that they CANNOT be US troops. The rest of the world must be incentivized and appeased to the point where they will be compelled to help stabilize the country. A massive worldwide UN led peacekeeping force would send a message that Iraq has no other options and that the insurgents have the entire world to fight instead of 140,000 US troops. This deployment must be at least 500,000 troops strong and have faces from all over the world to success, but could be deployed and have the country stabilized within 3 months with the will to do it.
Step #4: Iraqi Reconstruction (2 months-to show we mean it)
This is the main reason we lost the peace. Private Military Corporations are running roughshod around Iraq with our money. They are accountable to no one. No one knows what they are doing with all the money we are giving them. They are hiring tens of thousands of slaves from Bangladesh and other third world areas, shipping them in to do the grunt work, abusing them, not paying them, and not even to keep a body count of those who are dying. It is a humanitarian crisis that the media rarely exposes and is the dirty little secret of this war. Yesterday for example, four "private security company employees" were kidnapped. Who are these people? Mercenaries. Former military from around the world paid to carry guns and kill as needed with NO accountability. They have no other mission than to protect the private contractors. Thiers is not a mission of peace and good will and their killings are not recorded in the books. This is a disaster and needs to stop immediately.
The Grandaddy of all the PMC's and the most corrupt is Halliburton, but there are hundreds more on the taxpayer dime. The bottom line is this...when ever we have taken military action in the past, we have hired the local population to rebuild their own country.
This does several things. First, it teaches new skills to the population that is rebuilding. Second, it's hard to want to blow up a school house that you just got paid to build. Third, it provides an income to the population while they are suffering the effects of war. This also makes it more unlikely that people will blow things up, because they have a steady paycheck and a hope for their future. They also don't want to lose that check and therefore will discourage their neighbors from violence. Fourth, it gets the work done faster. If you want your electricity back on, you will work more diligently to get it back on. The personal incentive to work hard is inherent when it affects you personally. Fifth, it builds communities. Shiites and Sunnis living in the same town, building a school for all of their children will form alliances, friendships and find common ground in the workforce. Sixth, it's cheaper. Rather than allowing PMC's to financially rape our US dollars uncontrolled while stealing hideous profits from the contracts and doing nothing constructive on the ground, local control with joint US/UN oversight of the distribution of the paychecks would be critical to making sure the work is getting done and the people of Iraq are invested in the final product.
This by the way is the main reason they are all mad at each other and at us and the main reason Bush really doesn't want to pull out. His cronies are making too much money on the entire deal and don't want to share it with the Iraqi's. They clearly know that and it's pissing them off. In the end, it's all about the money and the robber-barons in Iraq just flat out have to give up on the endless money pit of US dollars going into their pockets.
Once this is all stable, they can let the Iraqi's invite them back to do business, but you cannot force a country to do business with you by using the US military.
Step #5: Begin Gradual US Pull Out of Iraq (1 month)
As soon as any semblence of stability is attained on the ground, the US must redeploy in the region and pull out of Iraq as much as possible, turning the final steps of reconstruction over to the UN.
As a mom I picture this plan as 3-4 kids fighting in the living room. You remove the toy they are fighting over, make them all apologize to each other, introduce something they can all play with together and as soon as it all quiets down again. You begin to start tip-toeing backwards out of the room, you may have to repeat the process every few minutes, but eventually it all calms down. In this case, you leave UN troops to hold the peace and US troops get out of the way, but not so far that we couldn't jump back in at a moment's notice.
So, how feasible is the Crawford Plan?
Step #1: Never gonna happen. Bush has eaten some humble pie in the last few weeks, but never will he make the ovation to the world necessary to get their help in fixing Iraq.
Step #2: Can't happen without step #1. The world community is justified in letting us try to sort out this mess we created on our own. Like a father watching a spoiled child run down a temper tantrum, the world community will sit by until either a new president is elected and makes an overture of peace to them (a Democrat) or a new president is elected who can say ("I'm not Bush, let's talk" convincingly -Moderate of either party) or continually if we choose another stubborn jack ass in '08.
Step #3: If one and two happen, this is feasible. Otherwise, it would take a Jimmy Carter/Nelson Mandela/John McCain/Jack Murtha/Oprah Winfrey/Ghandi/MLK Jr/and Bishop Tutu delegation with the full support of President Bush cowering in the background to pull this off without step 1 & 2.
Step #4: Actually, this could begin today. One Act of Congress requiring all reconstruction to be done by Iraqi civilians and revoking the contracts of Halliburton and Bechtel would begin this process immediately. Let them sue us for breach of contract, then we get to subpeona the hell out of them and audit the war properly.
Step #5: There is NO PLAN that can be offered that won't end in mass loss of live and civil war for decades to get to step 5 without steps 1-4. It will be Israel/Palestine for the milennia if we cannot as a world finish 1-4, so 5 is for now a pipe dream.