Thursday, January 18, 2007

A Speech for Mr. Bush

Having already shown the gall to write a song for Bob Dylan is it any real surprise that I would have the temerity to write a speech for George Bush? After all, it is possible that Bob might write another good peace song. To expect George to actually write a good speech is obviously delusional.

Still, driven by the wish that America could return at least to the semblance of sanity it had when it used to claim to be a peace loving nation interested in the well-being of the world rather than a believer in pre-emptive warfare of the type practiced by Germany in striking Poland in 1939 . . . I decided to try and write for Mr. Bush a speech that I think would enable us to withdraw from Iraq with honor and some shred of dignity.

Although I don't believe a word of any argument against Mr. Bush's guilt as a fabricator of false reasons for the invasion of Iraq as well as a follower of horrendous actual reasons for this illegal war, I have tried to build into this speech a means for him to claim otherwise and perhaps even get away with it. After all, the world in general is forgiving of those who seek forgiveness. It seems to be only those who try to cover things up who are punished for political missteps.

In my wildest dreams, I imagine the president asking for time to speak to the United Nations General Assembly and then addressing them something like this:

I come before you today because I wanted the citizens of the world to recognize that I am speaking not just to the American people, but to all people. I am also here because I need your help. Since March , 2003 my country has been engaged in a war in Iraq. I led my country into that war in the belief that I could best ensure the future security of America by unseating the dangerous dictator Saddam Hussein.

I still believe that the world is a better place now that Hussein no longer holds power in Iraq. However, I do not feel that Iraq is a better place today because of his absence. For that reason I have come before you, and especially the people of Iraq, to apologize.

I have come to admit that neither I nor the people in my administration who structured America's attack on Iraq foresaw that it would be impossible to create a democratic government patterned after the United States' system for a society whose basic structure is tribal. We truly thought that the citizens of Iraq would gratefully accept the demise of Saddam Hussein's government as an opportunity to adopt the governmental form of their liberators. In reality what we freed was not the political will to unite, but rather the will to settle a range of tribal disputes that date back through the centuries to times long before the rise and fall of Saddam Hussein. Our solution to Iraq's problems was democracy, but we did not foresee that all these ancient disputes would need to be settled before democracy could be possible. Because of this, we must now admit that our strategy has completely failed so that, rather than having an effective democracy in place, we have unleashed a blood bath of sectarian violence that must be settled among Iraqis before that nation can take the positive steps forward needed to heal its ancient wounds.

In the past year, over 34,000 Iraqi people have lost their lives to this violence. The people of the United States no longer wish to contribute in any way to that horrible bloodshed. It is for this reason that I have decided to withdraw my plan for increasing American troops in Iraq and have come before you to propose a completely new approach to the problem.

Recognition of our failure to stabilize Iraq does not mean that American troops will immediately leave. Those troops will continue to do their best to contain the violence and protect the citizenry. However, as a clear demonstration of our intent to ultimately remove those troops from the region I pledge the following actions:
  1. Construction of facilities and infrastructure for all planned American military bases in Iraq will cease immediately and those properties will be ceded to the present government of Iraq.
  2. Funds allocated for the development of those military bases in the amount of $_______ will be redirected to the creation and maintenance of infrastructure designed to serve the civilian population of Iraq as soon as: a. The Iraqi people signify through a majority vote that they recognize a defined governing body as having the authority and responsibility to allocate and apply those funds to their appropriate use, and; b. An international peacekeeping force is in place in Iraq. I am asking the United Nations to provide police action oriented troops from a wide range of nations under whose officers American troops will serve. American military staff level officers' only role will be advisory.
  3. Funds so redirected will be placed at the disposal of the United Nations Secretary General to disperse to the Iraqi peoples' chosen government at his discretion with the advisory note that the United States wishes them to be spent through contracts with Iraqi companies capable of creating the necessary improvements within reasonable time frames.
  4. Additionally, the United States will make available to the United Nations $__billion to be dispersed through UN auspices by the Congress of the United States in accord with requests from the UN for purposes of: a. Creating and sustaining the governmental form chosed by the people of Iraq, and; b. Creating and maintaining social infrastructure projects to be approved in advance by the Congress of the United States in response to UN requests for funds.
I recognize that many of the members of my own political party as well as many unaffiliated citizens of the United States and the world do not recognize the United Nations as a valid source of this kind of management. However, I ask those who are skeptical of the UN's abilities to ask themselves where else it is possible to turn.

The world cannot afford to allow Iraq to fall into total chaos and potentially under the control of a terroristic government, but those are exactly the risks we face today. Stability in the region is essential, and I have come to believe that the only way to achieve that stability is to demonstrate clearly that America is willing to allow the people of Iraq to settle their own disputes and to withdraw with no further claims on Iraqi resources, governments or infrastructure.

Under the aegis of the United Nations as I have proposed here, we in the United States of America can remove ourselves from the role of principle leader in deciding Iraq's future and perhaps begin to regain the confidence of the world in our role as a peacemaker.

1 comment:

Midge Potts said...

This is almost exactly what I would prescribe.

Maybe the suggestions in your "bush speech" should be presented to congresspersons equally with requests to "stop funding the war".

By "funding the war", I mean continuing the status quo. But if the US military would step aside from being the "occupation force", and would take orders as part of a true UN peacekeeping contingent, then that is a different thing entirely.

Also, we owe the Iraqis reparations for destroying their country, so we should fund the rebuilding of basic infrastructure in Iraq. However, Halliburton and Bechtel should not be contracted to do this. The funds for rebuilding Iraq should be given to Iraqis, and they should decide who to hire for the reconstruction.

This is just my humble opinion.

Thanks for this interesting "speech" Bob.