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[casi] TIME article/ Looking Beyond Saddam


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.



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

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:


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."


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.


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.

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

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

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

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

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