Dean on postwar: winning the peace

The images we all saw on television worldwide yesterday will be in our world history books as one of the defining moments of the 21st century. Alongside those of 9-11, yin and yang. I was and still am opposed to war on Iraq - not the idea of war per se, but like Howard Dean, by the route to which we justified and pursued war. But winning the war was never in doubt and my heart is is full of satisfaction at seeing the statues of Saddam fall at last.

I am however quite disappointed by the attitude of many who oppose the war - who seem to have a grudging attitude towards the liberation. IRAQ IS FREE. Regardless of your politics, your principles, your attitudes - this must be the shared event that we all celebrate. Even Howard Dean, when asked about his response to yesterday's historic events, could only muster this response:

�We�ve gotten rid of him [Saddam Hussein]. I suppose that�s a good thing,� said Dean. But he added the post-war occupation of Iraq is �going to cost the American taxpayers a lot of money that could be spent on schools and kids.�

This is weak - the valid point about the costs of reconstruction is stronger is you admit that a liberated Iraq is (regardless of politics) a Good Thing. Still, I do support Dean's position towards post-war Iraq - here is the full text of Howard Dean's statement on what we need to do to win the peace:

April 9, 2003 - WASHINGTON, D.C. - Governor Howard Dean, M.D. called for United Nations cooperation in helping rebuild Iraq.

"We knew from the outset we could win this war without much help from others. But we cannot win the peace by continuing to go it alone," Governor Dean said. "Our goal should be what the Administration has promised-an Iraq that is stable, self-sufficient, whole and free. Our strategy to achieve that goal should be based on a partnership with three sides-U.S., international and Iraqi-and a program that begins with seven basic points."

Those points are:

  1. A NATO-led coalition should maintain order and guarantee disarmament.

  2. Civilian authority in Iraq should be transferred to an international body approved by the U.N. Security Council.

  3. The U.N.'s Oil for Food program should be transformed into an Oil for Recovery program, to pay part of the costs of reconstruction and transition.

  4. The U.S. should convene an international donor's conference to help finance the financial burden of paying for Iraq's recovery.

  5. Women should participate in every aspect of the decision-making process.

  6. A means should be established to prosecute crimes committed against the Iraqi people by individuals associated with Saddam Hussein's regime.

  7. A democratic transition will take between 18 to 24 months, although troops should expect to be in Iraq for a longer period.

"We must hold the Administration to its promises before the war, and create a world after the war that is safer, more democratic, and more united in winning the larger struggle against terrorism and the forces that breed it," Governor Dean said.

"That is, after all, now much more than a national security objective," he added. "It is a declaration of national purpose, written in the blood of our troops, and of the innocent on all sides who have perished."

Winning the peace will be the ultimate arbiter of whether the price to our blood was worth it. I think Dean's seven points are the right start. Though I do have quibbles...

UPDATE: Glenn writes:

I want to see Iraq a peaceful, free and prosperous place. It wasn't going to be that any time soon without the war. Now it can be -- but "can" isn't the same as "will."

exactly. I wonder if Glenn would vote for Dean? He has an "A" rating from the NRA, you know :)

No comments: