Iraq Needs Political, Diplomatic Efforts, Not Military Build up

President Bushs decision to increase the number of U.S. troops in Iraq by more than 20,000 ignores the will of the American people and perpetuates this administrations flawed policy, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said in a statement. (Dave Spector)
Statement by AFL-CIO President John Sweeney On the President’s Proposal to Expand American Troops in Iraq
January 11, 2007
No United States foreign policy can be sustained without the informed consent of the American people. Last November the American people spoke loudly and clearly that the President’s course in Iraq was flawed and that he should begin bringing our troops home rapidly.
Rather than heed the will of American citizens, or listen to military leaders speaking out against the current policy in Iraq, the President is choosing to make one last attempt to salvage his own legacy by putting in harm’s way more young American soldiers.
These soldiers – the men and women risking their lives in Iraq – come from America’s working families. They are our sons and daughters, our sisters and
brothers, our husbands and wives. They always answer when called to duty.
For that fundamental commitment to this nation, they deserve leaders who will call them only when the nation’s security is at risk and there is a clear plan for victory. This administration has failed and continues to fail that basic obligation.
As our generals on the ground in Iraq have said, there is no military solution to the civil strife that now wracks that country. Only a political solution – effected by the Iraqis themselves – can resolve what has become an internal struggle among Iraqis themselves.
What is needed in Iraq is an expansion of political and diplomatic efforts – not an increase in United States military performing police functions. Moreover, sustainable social and economic development and the guarantee of fundamental labor and trade union rights are absolutely essential. The President insists that we must succeed militarily in order to establish the conditions for a political settlement. In fact, the reverse is true. Unless there is first the political will to stop the violence, there can be no military solution involving American troops.
American policy in Iraq has been based on false premises and wishful thinking since the beginning. And we have tried to increase American troop presence in the most violent and dangerous areas of Iraq before without success.
We urge the Congress of the United States to perform its constitutional responsibilities and insist that the President, and his military leaders, clearly articulate the path for withdrawal of American troops from Iraq rapidly. The dedication and patriotism of those young men and women who answer the call to service deserve no less.

Despair and hope in Iraq

Harry Barnes carries a link to a very moving song for peace on his blog and appeals for people to work with those in Iraq who work with each other often irrespective of religous sect, ethnic or national background, family or tribal links, sex or sexual orientation, race or creed.

More on execution of Saddam Hussein

Writing in the Mirror author Christopher Hitchens criticises the execution of Saddam arguing: what we have seen instead is something more like an exorcism, or blood-rite. It is difficult, in fact impossible, to convey to non-Iraqis how deep and terrible was Saddams regime of fear. People could be executed horribly if they upset a cup of coffee on a newspaper that carried his photograph.
Relatives were not just forced to watch the torture and murder of their loved ones, but were compelled to applaud as well. A quarter of a century of terror and humiliation is not easily cancelled.
As with Dracula, fearful people want the assurance of the stake through the heart.
They cannot rest until they know the ghastly tyrant is dead. As a result, the chance of a landmark human rights tribunal has been missed and a botched, hasty and panicky process substituted, which means the exorcism hasn’t quite succeeded – and the spirit still walks and stalks.

Archbishop found wanting

Ann Clwyd criticises the Archbishop of Canterbury for not doing enough to get Saddam Hussein indicted for mass murder before the invasion of Iraq. Tony Blairs personal envoy to Iraq revealed she had asked Dr Rowan Williams to take a leading role in her campaign in 2002 when he was the Archbishop of Wales.
Ms Clwyd campaigned against Saddam’s human rights abuses for many years and, in 1996, founded a group called Indict which amassed evidence and sought to persuade governments to support moves to prosecute the dictator.
She said, “I went to see Rowan Williams in Newport in the summer of 2002 to try to get him to campaign for an indictment. He appeared to be quite enthusiastic at the time but all I ever saw was a quote from him in the Guardian some time later.
“I wish he, and others, had pursued the matter more vigorously. If Saddam had been indicted, he would have lost a lot of credibility in the Arab world and it may have been possible to avoid invasion.”

Hitchens reports from Iraq

Travelling in Iraq, Christopher Hitchens concludes that there is no reason in principle why Iraq could not be one of the most prosperous countries on earth. For the moment, feuding sects use their control over ministries to enrich their own supporters, but even the most blinkered tribalist can glimpse the idea that a shared country would be more beneficial to each than a shattered one.

Recommendations Could Destroy Democracy

Masrour Barzani argues that those who fought for liberty and freedom have been forgotten by The Iraq Study Group. He says that To call upon Iraqs neighbors, which have chosen Iraq as a place to fight the United States, is a grave mistake. Seeking their participation would inevitably backfire. They would not only contribute to the instability within the country but would implement agendas in direct contradiction to America’s occupation goals.
The author is the director of the Intelligence and Security Agency of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq and a high-ranking member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party.

The Great Irony of the Iraqi Economy

Despite violent turmoil and corruption, Iraqs booming economy has left the government with the enviable task of finding capital projects to allocate oil revenues to. Iraq The Model reports on a plan to give 30% of the surplus back to the non-criminal, non-millionaire and non-migrant population. (Dave Spector)