Tuesday, April 06, 2004

War upon an eastern star, plan for rehabilitation of Iraq

I won't try to keep up with events going on in Iraq, Back to Iraq blog, Juan Cole's Informed Comment blog,

Stirling Newberry, Swopa at Needlenose, Akim, and Col Lounsbury are covering it all much better than I could.

Thirteen guys dead, in Ramahdi alone is what the news is reporting. Meanwhile, Safire at the NYT channels the Administration policy to this crisis for the rest of us not "in the loop" on the Administration's "plans" for handling this situation.

Btw Slate as an article about how to become an Ayatollah.

The BBC reports that the US army vows to wipe out Iraqi Shiite militia. The CSM has two articles on the implications of the situation. Meanwhile the NYT discusses how we may lose Australia next after Spain. The Guardian(UK):Special Report Iraq portfolio is also interesting.


What I can say from the depths of my heart is that we are in deep trouble in Iraq. A friend of mine has a cousin who's step-brother was one of the eight that died in the initial Sadr uprising a few days ago. That's the "six degrees of freedom" thing at work. As the number of deaths increase, the ripples from them will increase.

The American people contrary to most opinion are not afraid of casualties. What the American people detest however is getting sold wars and military interventions on bogus bills of goods and lies, and seeing good kids die for politicians mistakes. This is pretty standard MO for politicians everywhere throughout history, so the fact that Americans actually generally want a half decent reason before sending off lots of kids to die is a virtue and not a flaw.

With both candidates, Bush and Kerry, promising to "stick it out" in Iraq and Senators on both ends of the spectrum speculating about letting the June 30 turnover date go then it seems we're going to be stuck in Iraq for a while.

I can't imagine that Sadr will last under the concerted firepower of American forces once they're mobilized, but the constraints of minimizing collateral damage and the support of the populace will mean that unless we get lucky this could be bloody and we could lose a lot more of our own guys. The more of a price we pay, the more surely Sadr will die for his defiance, but the price could end up by American and Iraqi standards being quite high. It could include permanently souring the Shiites on us as well.

A reader Jim Coomes suggested that I draw up a revamped CPA/US Embassy plan for replacing the present. I was originally going to draw up a fairly detailed plan for CPA organization specifically, but instead in the face of this crisis I'm going to opt for a general outline of what I would do in general.


1. Fire any person related to any member of the AEI.

2. Fire any Republican operative who did not serve under Bush Senior or Reagan. Anybody who served under Herbert or a Administration previous can stay. Personal petitions to the otherwise will be allowed, but the 'foreign policy' realcons must dominate not politicons and neocons.

3. Bring on Tom Warrick and the rest of the State Department Arabists

4. Bring on Halper, Kenneth Pollack, and every guy with experience mentioned in this article.

5. Raid the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, CATO Institute, Middle East Institute, Institute for Research Middle Eastern Policy, and the Saban Center at the Brookings Institute, and some of these authors for talent.

6. Setup a bootcamp for training hundreds (thousands if we can get them) of translators to ship to drawing from among others Association of Patriotic Arab Americans in Military, Arab American Engineers and Architec, Arab American Institute, and other Arab American organizations.

7. Frankly the rot goes so deep, the oldman would have to go through every dossier in the Iraqi Program Management Office and weed out all the political operatives and replace them with reconstruction experts and people familiar with the details who could offer pragmatic solutions that would be an improvement over previous policies (via the Council on Foreign Relations). I would also ask experts who specialized in post-war reconstruction specifically for ideas.

8. However, a political Administration cannot be run by expert committes. The experts are there to inform political Administrations of ideas, options, and consequences while the political administrators have to make leadership choices.

9. In light of that, the only solution is to take Sistani up on his offer and negotiate a scrapping of the IGC and a new Constitutional process.

10. Proposed Iraqi Government
10a. 100 member Senate selected by CPA head to represent tribal interests, selected off the satellite phone number listing that represents Iraqi elites, and native influential leaders like sheikhs.
The Iraqi senate will be roughly representative of ethnic demographics, require a 2/3rds majority to overturn a veto wielded by the CPA head, and be given charge of Iraqi government ministries. The Iraqi Senate will vote to confirm Iraqi ministers, and set up with the UN an internationally recognized election process so that by December 2004 local representatives can be elected to a Parliment or House of Commons. At that time, the government will pass to the House of Commons which will take over control of the Iraqi ministries and organize a national election for the Senate. Any national party that obtains at least 1% of the vote will be entitled to a seat on the Senate. The Senate will elect by 2/3rds majority an Iraqi President who has the power of veto.

10b. The Iraqi Parliment will run the government by forming a coalition of 60% of elected local representatives and appointing by 60% vote one of their number to be Prime Minister. The majority coalition will run the government, unless they fail to get less than 30% of the Parliment on any given vote in which case a new governing coalition must be formed. The Parliment must have all ministerial candidates approved by the Senate, all treaties ratified by the Senate, and all legislation approved of also by the Senate majority vote. The Prime Minister will not have veto powers. The Parliment as directly elected representatives unlike the Senate will write the Constitution, and determine the lengths of office, rotation of elections, etc. barring only modifying the basic bicameral structure, basic Parlimentary rules of organization, and Senate confirmation rules of the President who will have sole vested veto power over Senate legislation.

11. Sadr has to be brought in. However, except in the case of incitement of violencen it should be announced no further newspapers will be closed.

12. The Kurds have to be told that the choice is not between an independent Kurdistan and a Kurdish autonomous zone within a unified Iraq, but a Kurdish autonomous zone within a unified Iraq and a Kurdish colony of Turkey.

13. Oil revenues must be turned over to the Iraqi government for spending. The central government should have its split for centralized functions, and the provinces should be distributed local administration money based upon population.

14. There must be a Western cell phone network built by the CPA for use exclusively by the CPA, US military, etc. However, the Iraqi communications minister should be allowed to revoke CPA contracts on present cell phone networks for domestic Iraqi use and to bid out to local standard systems.

15. American Iraqi reconstruction monies should have set-asides, such at least $200 million for Sir Jeremy Greenstock as a block grant to manage so long as receipts are kept, double book accounting is practiced, and standard bidding practices are followed. Ditto proportionally for the other allied local administrations of Iraq.

16. Order bulk orders of cheap solar power cells and assign them to critical faculties like hospitals, refineries, water plants, etc. These guys at MIT have a few ideas too.

17. As it turns out MIT also has some ideas about water purification.

18. The Iraq Program Management Office analyzes Iraqi electricity. Here's the program in Northern Iraq. So get rid of the Asian labor and buy the actual German, French, etc. parts needed to repair the plants. Oh and btw fire Bechtel. Here is the USAID report. The Program Management office in general needs weeding.

19. set up a program of block grants of $500k to $1 million per hospital with accounting and reporting rules, and let the hospitals fix themselves.

20. Fire Bechtel, again, and just fix the damn water problems directly instead of trying to outsource everything. Just pony up the money to buy all the parts needed, with receipts of course.

21. Put in a four tier system in the new CPA. Top dog = oldman. second tier = all senior staff members and department heads. 3rd tier = team leaders. 4th tier = CPA staff. Assign specific tasks to specific people and put update and reporting requirements including deadlines. Institute task assignment software to track and manage performance. I prefer Lotus Notes.

22. Junk the name CPA, call it the Iraq Reconstruction Organization - or something, anything, etc.

23. Move IRO formerly CPA out of Greenzone to secure Embassy location outside of Baghdad center on the outskirts. Cede former Saddam palaces to Senate / Iraqi government.

24. Exile or execute Chalabi. Seriously. I prefer execution. Public. Exile INC. Seize seized properties, turn over to Iraqi government for sale or use.

25. Inform military that bases will need to be pulled back from cities and all lines of supply must NOT enter city limits or pass through them to stop stupid reoccurring ambushes on main street Iraq.

26. Negotiate phased release of all 10,000+ seized prisoners except those we have hard evidence on. Give them $100 US compensation and send them home.

27. Inform military that on it's new bases it will build adjacent training zones. The new job of the entire US military in Iraq is to train for eight to twelve weeks at a time large cohorts of Iraqi Civil Defense forces.

28. Institute joint patrols.

29. Turn Iraqi television station CPA/IRO controls into a real news outlet that is credible. Do this by firing all media cronies and propagandists and hiring independent journalists to take it over, tell them they can put on air whatever they want on two conditions 1) they cover all CPA/IRO events 2) They source and can back up all stories. Credibility is more important than spin.

30. Note to self, televise Chalabi execution.

31. Instruct military and joint Iraqi police patrols to focus on kidnappings, impromptu "Islamic" law courts, gangs, murders, militias, thieving tribes, etc. Begin televising trials. Especially executions. Law and order is a priority.

32. Note to self, double check rehabilitation of Iraqi legal system - the CPA probably f*cked that up too.

33. Begin using raids on Islamic courts to break up militias.

34. Institute partial curfew - from 11 PM to 4 AM. Begin setting ambushes for those killing intelligentsia in Iraq or clerics. Capture some to puclicly execute, after suitable trial.

35. Get rid of f*cking mercs on CPA / IRO protection detail. Get some real US soldiers.

36. Weed out the Iraqi exiles there for a power grab and the ones who want to make a difference.

37. Plan to build a new refinery in conjunction with Iraqi Oil Ministery. Increased economic activity already putting demand for kerosene, gasoline, etc. above pre-war levels.

38. Rehire Iraqi Army, start vetting program for Iraqi intelligence and Iraqi officers.

39. Bring CIA onboard, they seemed to have been calling the on ground stuff right from civil war to demobilization of army. They need to stop encouraging Iraqi minister who is stockpiling guns though. Note to self: Watch back around CIA.

40. Take deBaathification program and turn it into a Truth and Reconcialiation program, stop disenfranchising "nominal" members and only blacklist or prosecute top leadership and their lieutenants.

41. Rename Airport from Bush International Airport to Baghdad International Airport.

42. Redesign procurement and contract bidding programmes in the PMO, to rely on cheaper and local help with more accounting and less crony bids.

43. Make clear that Iraqi army will report to Iraqi government, starting with full Senate, rather than US military chain of command.

44. Start expecting personal political attacks in USA and/or pressure from legislators on behalf of all the interests I am going to piss off by doing all the above.

45. Take complete responsibility for all outcomes, defend people to the hilt who are carrying out the policies I specify, and prepare to be crucified for doing what it takes to put together Iraq.


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