Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Iraqi Citizens - Do they get a say?

This week has been all about foreign policy in the Downsizer world. This is absolutely the most contentious subject that I have any difference with my fellow conservatives and Republicans. I happen to agree with Ron Paul on this issue though. There are two overarching concerns that drive me on Foreign Policy.

  1. Economic Stability - We cannot continue to spend our grandchildren's money propping up the economies around the world. We are going to have to maintain a very strong military without the foreign bases and the stationing of troops all over the world. With our Air Force and Navy (which should remain VERY strong) we can mobilize our forces anywhere on the globe in rapid enough fashion to have overwhelming force deployed faster than any nation would risk. We don't need troops living in foreign countries. This isn't just about military spending, it's also about Foreign Aid.

  2. Executive Power - The balance of power issue has been building since the Civil War, and especially since the second World War. I mentioned this in a comment on my previous post, but it's a very significant issue. The President should not have the power to enter our nation into military conflict with any nation ever. This power is reserved to Congress. The Constitution was structured to prevent King-like powers from being used by the President. The Judicial branch is trying to legislate from the bench and using who knows what definition of the Constitution to rule. The Legislative branch is too busy spending money we don't have to buy votes and win elections. We cannot allow the office of the President to continue to wield such great power.

With that, we come to today's Dispatch. I agree particularly with the article from Reason Magazine that we should be supportive of the effort to take a vote by the Iraqi people on whether occupation forces should remain. Any clear message from that type of vote would assist our country in knowing what we should do. Here's what the Downsizer Dispatch has to say -

Subject: Support an Iraqi referendum on the occupation

Headlines across America screamed the news this week. The U.S. government is seeking 58 permanent military bases in Iraq.

Is this what you want? It certainly seems to NOT be what the Iraqi people want, given the violent protests it has provoked.

President Bush thinks U.S. military personnel should stay in Iraq for decades, the way they have in Korea. John McCain says he's willing for U.S. troops to stay in Iraq for one hundred years, assuming, he says, that there's no violence. But if Iraq becomes peaceful, why would U.S. forces even be needed?

Shouldn't we finally, at long last, ask the Iraqi people what they want?

ABC News polled Iraqis in September of 2007. It found that 79% oppose the occupation, including 80% of Shiites, and 95% of Sunnis.

Another poll conducted in February, 2008, shows that 77% of Iraqis remain opposed to the U.S. occupation, including 77% of Shiites and 95% percent of Sunnis.

We are continually told that we must stay in Iraq to prevent a sectarian blood bath. But the Iraqi people don't seem to share this fear, and perhaps with good reason. A study of violent attacks in Iraq indicates that the sectarian violence has largely subsided, and that most of the remaining violence is directed at the occupation, and at government officials who are perceived to be collaborating with US. forces.

This would seem to indicate that violence in Iraq could dwindle away to nothing, if only we would leave.

Of course, no one can guarantee what will happen if U.S. forces depart. But the same is true for the opposite position. It's possible the violence will continue precisely because the occupation continues.

It's time to cut through the pointless, circular debate. It's time to ask the Iraqi people what they want, NOT what U.S. politicians want, and NOT even what the Iraqi government wants. Instead, we should request that the Iraqi people be allowed to decide for themselves. Didn't President Bush say he wanted democracy for Iraq?

If you agree with this idea, please send Congress a message. Tell Congress to pass a resolution asking the Iraqi government to hold a public referendum on whether or not the U.S. occupation should continue. You can send that message here.

I contacted my congresspeople as follows -

Please pass a resolution asking the Iraqi government to hold a public
referendum on whether or not the U.S. occupation should continue.
My personal comment to you:

The concept of a vote by the Iraqi people to determine whether we stay
or go has great merit. Please support or propose a resolution that
asks the Iraqi government to hold such a vote.

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