The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
Friends, Here is an article from TIME Magazine. I apologize for posting a long article, but I found it very informative. Perhaps those supporters of war could understand better what the US has in store for them. HZ ------------------ http://www.time.com/time/covers/1101030310/story.html Looking Beyond Saddam If invading troops topple Iraq's dictator, Washington will inherit responsibility for a bitter, factious country. Here's TIME's look at the blueprint for remaking the nation—and the Middle East By Johanna McGeary Posted Sunday, March 2, 2003; 10:31 a.m. EST One of the gravest reservations held by opponents of a new war on Iraq is what would happen afterward. Even if the Bush Administration proves correct in assuming a quick military success, the postwar peace, by all accounts, would be a messy affair. Yet some who support the war believe destroying Saddam Hussein's regime would bring sweeping benefits to the entire Middle East. Though it has leaked a satchel of scenarios for beating Saddam's army, the Administration has said barely a word about managing the perilous aftermath. So there was President George W. Bush last week, posed before a panoply of U.S. flags to spell out his grand vision for Iraq: a brutalized land remade by war in the American colors of democracy, prosperity and peace. The bold promise extended, he said, to the entire Middle East, where the "dramatic and inspiring example" of Iraq's liberation would set "a new stage for Middle Eastern peace" and "show the power of freedom to transform that vital region by bringing hope and progress into the lives of millions." With battle talk filling the air and the U.N. still holding out on approval, Bush offered up that expansive goal as the ultimate justification for the war. It's not just about disarming Saddam; it's about what the President considers a "battle for the future of the Muslim world." That stirring rhetoric may attract some wavering Americans, but it made little impact at the U.N., where the Security Council remained deeply divided. The Administration hopes to bring the diplomatic tussle over a new resolution censoring Iraq to a conclusion in the coming days. But Bush's speech made it clear that he plans to proceed toward war whether the U.N. goes along or not. Bush's lofty aims were a departure for a country that has never much cared how Arab states were ruled as long as the oil flowed cheaply and for a President who came into the White House scornful of nation building. Yet the speech offered no concrete details on how this ambitious job would be done. Indeed, top Bush advisers spent much of the week knocking down news reports and sweeping aside official statements that hinted at just how difficult and costly it would be to achieve this post-Saddam vision. Here's a hard look inside the Administration's postwar notebooks. Who Will Rule Iraq? Even administration visionaries are starting to realize that taking over Iraq promises to be easier than handing it back. At this late hour, the Administration is not very ready for the peace. Much hinges on how war might progress—how it would unfold, how it would end, whether U.S. troops were met with a warm welcome or violent hostility. Postwar plans inevitably require a make-it-up-as-you-go approach. Yet there has been constant division inside the Administration on preferred options. Fierce interagency wrangling has pitted the State Department and the CIA against the Pentagon and the Vice President's office on issues large and small. Only on Jan. 20 did the Defense Department take charge of postwar operations in the new Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, naming Jay Garner, a retired Army lieutenant general and a friend of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's, as peace boss. State's top Iraq expert, Ryan Crocker, tapped to go to Baghdad as ambassador, may not take the job because so much postwar power would reside at Defense. Bush indicated the large scope of American intentions in his speech last week when he referred to the postWorld War II makeover of Japan and Germany as the model for a new Iraq. While they won't say it in public, White House officials privately admit the plan is to take over Iraq, plain and simple. The Administration likes to call it liberation. But it would mean a full-fledged, old-fashioned occupation by U.S. forces, which would run the country until it was ready to be given back to the Iraqis. Top officials say the plan calls for strong military control, under the overall authority of invasion commander General Tommy Franks. "The only thing that's up for question now," says a State Department official, "is how long that governorship will last." Last week the President answered with the Administration's deliberately opaque mantra: "We will remain in Iraq as long as necessary and not a day more." How long that is depends on tough decisions yet to be made about the U.S. role. Should Washington be more concerned with ensuring stability or with avoiding the impression of occupation? Should the U.S. set up basic political structures and clear out or take a longer time to try to build a civil society? Under all schemes, a full complement of U.S. troops—anywhere from 50,000 to 200,000—would form the central authority for a minimum of six months, and a diminishing number would probably remain for two years, though some experts say 20,000 to 90,000 would be needed for years after that. Pentagon bosses want to get in and out fast. They must have cringed when Bush uttered Japan. That postwar rebuilding job took the U.S. seven years. That's not the model, insists the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Douglas Feith. "We would involve Iraqis as soon as possible, and we would transfer responsibility to Iraqi entities as soon as we could," he says. The war planners are trying to make that transition easier. They are betting that a ferocious opening volley—what they call a shock-and-awe campaign—would destroy Iraq's will to resist and quickly end Saddam's rule with little destruction to the country's infrastructure. Some officers have even grumbled that the war plan places too many transportation and power grids off limits as a sop to postwar needs. But if hostilities drag on, rebuilding Iraq could prove as costly and complicated as the four-year reconstruction of Hitler's Germany. A big U.S. military presence would be needed in the initial post-Saddam days. Someone would have to dole out the humanitarian assistance that Iraqi civilians would need. Almost 60% of Iraqis depend on their government for food. "Liberators" would not be welcomed if they did not swiftly provide the country's 25 million citizens with rations, water, shelter and medical care. Under the plan, Franks would start delivering supplies in the wake of his advancing troops. Other morning-after missions would include securing Iraq's borders, preventing Iraqis from settling scores among themselves, keeping the country's three main communities—Kurds, Sunnis and Shi'ites—from fighting and finding any weapons of mass destruction Iraq may possess. The Pentagon is already worried about the dynamics of that search. "We have to find and show the world Saddam's weapons," says a senior Defense official—in a way, he adds, that quells suspicions that the U.S. planted the evidence. That's one reason the Pentagon uncharacteristically decided to let 500 reporters from all over the world accompany American forces if they invade. Garner, reporting to Franks, would take charge of all civilian matters. He would coordinate reconstruction and civil administration and quickly, Washington hopes, shift humanitarian assistance from the military to U.N. and nongovernmental agencies. Initially, there was talk of making a civilian top dog to take some of the onus off a military occupation. But a senior White House official tells TIME, "A civilian czar is not what people have in mind." The U.S. feels that one more link in the chain of command would weaken the effectiveness of the operation. Garner and Franks would have total control of the country while the most critical decisions were made about its future. Administration officials tell TIME that the U.S. would place advisers in Iraqi ministries to link Garner's office directly to everyday affairs. Arab diplomats briefed on the plans disparage these advisers as communist-style commissars. But Washington says their role would be to help reform the Iraqi bureaucracy. Some of them might be Iraqi Americans, and all would bring to the job needed technical expertise and familiarity with Western democracy. Administration sources say they hope to give one Arab American a highly visible role: Lieut. General John Abizaid, one of the few in top rank to speak Arabic, was recently promoted to Franks' second deputy. Here's a sample of Garner's likely agenda: REFORMING SADDAM'S SECURITY FORCES. The sprawling apparat of agents who carried out Saddam's repressions—maybe 5,000 in the various special security services—would be purged. But Iraq would still need an army to preserve a unitary state and prevent interference from its neighbors. Bush hard-liners have pushed for a complete housecleaning. Cooler heads have warned that if the army were gutted, the U.S. would face thousands of angry, unemployed soldiers and have no competent forces to help police the country. The Pentagon has come up with only a rudimentary plan for rehabilitating the bulk of the army, a strategy full of mushy military jargon. A document, part of which was made available to TIME, calls for a three-phase approach: "Stabilization, transition, transformation." A skeptical U.S. official says, "I defy you to come up with the difference between transition and transformation." ROOTING OUT THE BAATH PARTY. Under Saddam's rule, the party underpins the country's monolithic political power structure. Getting rid of Saddam's hidden army of spies, local operatives, snitches and cronies would be difficult and dangerous. Bush officials agree on the need for a cleansing process, but they're still debating how deep down the scouring should go. U.S. intelligence has combed its computer databases to prepare lists of leading Iraqis, divided into three categories. First, the culpable élite: hard-core Saddam loyalists—top military, security, intelligence and political officials, plus family members—who would be captured, tried and punished by some kind of war-crimes tribunal. Second, the repentant: senior officials whose allegiance to Saddam is less certain and who could be rehabilitated through local trials or truth-commission proceedings if they disavowed the dictator during the war. Last, the closet dissidents: key government and economic leaders who privately opposed Saddam and would be needed to run the country after him could receive a general amnesty. Washington has canvassed more than 2,000 names so far but won't say how many fall into each group. Occupiers might need to fend off vigilante reprisals against rank-and-file party members that could ravage the civil service that a new ruler would need. MANAGING IRAQ'S OIL. Since so much of the world suspects the U.S. of coveting the country's reserves (the second largest in the world), Washington would be judged by its behavior on this score. It has been widely rumored that British forces would be given the task of holding the oil fields during hostilities to buffer the U.S. from adverse propaganda. But senior U.S. officials tell TIME that such a role for the British has not been settled. Bush vowed in his speech that Iraq's oil resources would be used "for the benefit of the owners: the Iraqi people." Although some Pentagon advisers had hoped oil sales would help pay for the war, others at State counseled that the politics of appropriation would be damning. They suggest that an international panel could oversee oil operations until they could be handed back to Iraq. But Washington would expect Iraq's postwar oil revenue to help finance reconstruction, easing the burden on U.S. taxpayers. The toughest challenge would be how and when to cede political control back to the Iraqis. There are no good blueprints for transforming an authoritarian regime into a democratic one. But Iraq has special disadvantages. Many experts on Iraq, both in the Arab world and the West, fear that the U.S. is glossing over the realities of imposing democracy on a country that is deeply tribal, vengeful and embittered. The vacuum left by a collapse of Saddam's iron-fisted order could ignite power struggles and vendetta killings that could trigger long-term civil strife or even the breakup of the country. There's no democrat in waiting to step in if the dictator departs. Sunnis, Shi'ites and Kurds would jostle for their share of power. Iraqi exiles would vie for supremacy with those inside the country who resent and mistrust them. Iraq has no tradition like Afghanistan's loya jirga that could give quick shape to home rule. That's why Administration hard-liners pushed to let the Iraqi National Congress, the controversial exile group encompassing the main opposition factions, organize a provisional government in advance. The White House finally decided against it, leaving exiles feeling betrayed. In the near term, officials tell TIME, Garner would move fast to name an advisory council of Iraqis, balanced roughly fifty-fifty between exile figures and leaders who would emerge from within. It would serve a largely symbolic role, and once political parties and new leaders emerged, local and national elections could take place. Washington, Bush said, wouldn't dictate the precise form of Iraq's new government; that's up to Iraqis, as long as it's not another dictatorship. While the Pentagon hopes the rudiments could be done in six months, most experts say it would take a minimum of two years. Fine concepts, but would they work in practice? Gary Samore, a National Security Council staff member in the Clinton Administration, says he cannot imagine Iraqis tolerating an American governor for more than a couple of months. Others say the real danger is not that the U.S. would stay too long but that it wouldn't stay long enough. Democracy, says Amin Huweidi, a former Egyptian ambassador to Iraq, can't be imposed on Iraq "with the push of a button. It's a building-up process that takes a long time." Many Europeans agree and see in Afghanistan the unsatisfying results of Washington's last invasion: a country still far from stable, democratic or even peaceful, now threatened with being forgotten after its own "liberation." In fact, Bush's 2003 budget did not even ask Congress for the money the U.S. pledged this year for Afghanistan's reconstruction. Will Democracy Bloom? Success in Iraq, the president asserted, could change the entire region's landscape in two ways—by inspiring sclerotic kingdoms and repressive regimes to embrace democracy and by helping "set in motion" peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Bush has embraced neoconservative theology here: the U.S. is invading a dysfunctional part of the world to fix it, and the shock of war will finally jolt the Arab world into better health. It's an audacious idea but not a working plan. Neither Bush nor any Administration official has detailed how the wave of democratization would occur. Across the region, Arabs simply don't buy it. They don't trust Bush, and they're deeply skeptical of American attempts to impose democracy by force. Even if things could change for the better, says Khalil Shikaki, director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, "one would have to be truly naive to believe that the current U.S. Administration will invest serious efforts in promoting good governance in the region." Among Arabs, the vision of a postwar Middle East is filled with dread. Many are convinced that a war would breed regional instability and spark a fresh burst of anti-American rage. Terrorist ranks would find fresh recruits to spread violence across the region. Fundamentalist forces could provoke crackdowns that stifle any political opening. Or if regimes allowed a tenuous democracy, well-organized fundamentalists could come to power. "The consequences of war," Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal tells TIME, "are going to be tragic." Bush's prediction that getting rid of Saddam would energize the Middle East peace process may be even more over-reaching. While Iraq's despot has rewarded the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, that money is hardly a significant factor in their enduring conflict with Israel. "When the dust settles on the war," says Richard Murphy, a Middle East expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, "they still have claims against each other they are not willing to compromise." Bush's "personal commitment" to peace and to a Palestinian state was a welcome assurance from a President who has done virtually nothing to push along either. It was clearly meant to silence antiwar critics who complain that this issue is a more urgent priority than Iraq. Yet Bush offered no new plan, promising only that once Iraq was dealt with, he would begin to implement the long-promised road map for a settlement that his Administration has not moved on in eight months. What's more, Bush may have further diluted his credibility with the Palestinians, who already distrust his Administration's tilt toward Israel. On a subject in which every presidential word is exhaustively scrutinized, Bush appeared to signal a step further toward Israel's position when he said Palestinians must adopt democratic reforms and stop the violence before Israel had to quit expanding its settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Before, Bush said settlement activity should halt as a first step toward progress. Bush has set himself a high challenge. He has made the riskiest commitment by his country in a generation. He has promised Americans that this war will do more good than ill. The President sounded uncommonly confident as he spoke, but wishes are one thing and reality another, especially in a region accustomed to mirages. —Reported by Massimo Calabresi, Michael Duffy and Mark Thompson/Washington; Helen Gibson/London; and Scott MacLeod and Amany Radwan/Cairo __________________________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Tax Center - forms, calculators, tips, more http://taxes.yahoo.com/ _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk