Memorandum to the Managing Director Institute of World Peace
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IRAQ: AT PRESENT
‘Escalating violence’ is what we continuously hear about concerning the situation in Iraq. As a matter of fact, in February 2007 it was reported in the news that the chaos in the war-torn country is worsening. America’s intelligence agencies – sixteen of them, few of which the Institute of World Peace has been in contact with as well – have forecasted that it is sectarian strife that would continue to plague the country in the near future. In other words, Iraq is not asking for Americans to leave their country. Rather, Iraqi society is growing in polarization while the security forces and the state in general remain weak. In addition, all sides, including the U.S - Memorandum to the Managing Director Institute of World Peace introduction. forces presently in Iraq, are ready for violence at all times. This is driving an increase in communal and insurgent strife besides political extremism.[i]
America’s intelligence agencies have further reported: “Unless efforts to reverse these conditions show measurable progress during the term of this estimate, the coming 12 to 18 months, we assess that the overall security situation will continue to deteriorate at rates comparable to the latter part of 2006.”[ii]
HOW THE UNITED STATES MIGHT DEAL WITH ‘ESCALATING VIOLENCE’ IN IRAQ
We have to recall that the U.S. Congress is responsible both for declaring war and also for controlling funding for the war; while President George W. Bush is the commander-in-chief of the U.S. armed forces. On March 3, 2007, a Reuters report stated that the U.S. Congress is presently “skirmishing over how to bring Americans home from a war the public largely opposes but that the president insists is a noble mission and many lawmakers say cannot be abandoned.” A similar situation had occurred through the Vietnam War. The U.S. Congress finally stopped sending more aid to South Vietnam. As a result, Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese.[iii]
Another news report published in February 2007 stated that according to a CBS News Poll, two-thirds of the Americans believe that violence in Iraq may be beyond the U.S. military’s ability to manage, and only 25 percent believe that the U.S. military can be helpful in reducing the violence. What is more, 63 percent of Americans disapprove of the president’s plan to send more troops to Iraq. However, 44 percent believe that the U.S. Congress should pass a nonbinding resolution to express disapproval of the troop buildup, while 45 percent are opposed to such a measure.[iv]
Given the American faith in democracy, in the coming days, the U.S. Congress will either work on a measure to stop sending more U.S. troops into Iraq, perhaps by stopping its funding for the U.S. military in the war-torn nation; or remain with the president’s plan to continue fighting the violence in Iraq.
RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE INSTITUTE OF WORLD PEACE
The United States is responsible for helping Iraq recover
The president of the United States had, in fact, vowed to help Iraq reconstruct itself after the war. Seeing that Iraq has been through drastic changes in its political structure since March 2003 when the United States entered Iraq declaring war on Saddam Hussein – it is only reasonable for the United States to continue helping Iraq reconstruct itself after the war. After all, the Iraqi government is new, and all of its operating systems have changed following the overthrow of Saddam. If United States were to withdraw its troops from Iraq at present, Iraqis would be virtually left in the lurch. Even the stabilization of the new political system in Iraq would require a process of trial and error. The United States can help Iraq in this process by becoming its major stabilizing force in truth.
The U.S. Congress can help Iraq
The U.S. Congress should go along with the president’s plan to continue the “noble mission” of helping Iraq. The Congress does have the power to help Iraq, contrary to the view of two-thirds of the Americans who believe that the U.S. military is incapable of putting an end to the violence in the war-torn country.
Presently, the U.S. Congress cannot engage in a prolonged debate about whether or not to try to end U.S. involvement in Iraq. There is no time for such a prolonged debate, seeing that violence continues to increase in the war-torn nation. Instead of debating the issue, the U.S. Congress should send more funding to aid the U.S. troops in Iraq. To put it another way, the U.S. Congress, which declared war on Iraq, must now decide to do its utmost in helping Iraq recover. Increased aid will develop the U.S. military’s capacity in dealing with sectarian violence in the war-torn country. Before the U.S. Congress acts on such a decision, however, it must identify the ways in which increased funding will be utilized by the U.S. military in stopping sectarian violence in Iraq. One of the ways identified by the Institute of World Peace is for the U.S. Congress to provide more funding for “security” in Iraq. The emphasis on security lacks a focus on violence. The Institute of World Peace does not intend to advise the U.S. Congress to provide more funding to end violence with more violence. Instead, the U.S. military, with additional financial support, should be expected to work out ways to make Iraq secure from its own violence.
Increasing literacy in Iraq is a must
The United States should also consider trying to send more aid into Iraq for education. The Institute of World Peace trusts the fact that most of the world problems are initiated through illiteracy, and all kinds of violence in addition to terrorism, are caused by lack of education in the Third World and in the Middle East. Through increased funding for education, including educational seminars providing a crash course to all on universal values such as those propounded by the United Nations – the United States can fulfill its goal to help Iraq by reminding the Iraqis of the universal human values, and their true feelings with regards to sectarian violence. After all, those who are engaging in sectarian and communal violence are doing so based on certain beliefs. Regardless of those beliefs, we at the Institute of World Peace are certain of the fact that increased literacy can literally change the face of Iraq for the better.
Apparently, the current educational system in Iraq is not working to its capacity. The United States should seriously consider helping Iraq in this area with urgent measures.
Redeveloping the infrastructure of Iraq
Iraq has been severely damaged by war, and its people are very unhappy about it. This adds to the chaos in the nation.
The United States, therefore, should try and send more funds into Iraq to redevelop the damaged infrastructure of the war-torn land. There are many poor and illiterate Iraqis whose attention may easily be diverted from sectarian and communal violence to the development of Iraq, provided, of course, that the United States begins to show how drastically it is actually trying to help the nation recover. To put it another way, additional funding from the United States should immediately be put to use in truly developing Iraq at this point. Instead of simply standing by to fight violence with additional violence, Americans in Iraq should begin to seriously develop the war-torn country without further delay. This should lead to a change in attitude among the disheartened and angry Iraqis, presently turning to increased violence as a source of relief.
It is the responsibility of the United States to help Iraq recover after its invasion in March 2003. Iraq has been introduced to countless changes in its systems and structures since that time. ‘Escalating violence’ continues to plague the country, and is expected to go on. So therefore, the United States should not back out on its commitment to reconstruct Iraq. By providing additional funding for security, for education, and for the development of infrastructure in Iraq, the United States can fulfill its commitment to reconstruct Iraq.
[i] Mark Mazzetti (2007, February 2), “U.S. intelligence report predicts worsening Iraq violence,” International Herald Tribune.
[iii] Susan Cornwell (2007, March 3), “Iraq in Turmoil,” Reuters Foundation AlertNet. Retrieved from http://www.alertnet.org/. (7 March 2007).
[iv] Special Report: CBS News Polls: “Most Doubt Iraq Peace, Iran Threat,” (2007, February 12), CBS News. Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/02/12/opinion/polls/main2464626.shtml. (7 March 2007).