- Jeff - The Kuchinich plan is litmus. The Democrat
Congress must adopt Kucinich plan NOW. It must EAT "Kuchinich Spinach
NOW" or "Leave the Table in 08" -- Pelosi backs and implements
it now...or resigns.
- There is no reason to wait two years -- just thinking
of this plan as a reason for voting for a candidate in the future -- we
want the plan now and we see every reason why Democrats -- if they
are a real opposition party that is for the people -- must do the right
thing this year, this month, this week.
- Let's see the Democrats under Pelosi declare and legislate
this program BEFORE the presidential primaries season begins -- and we
will soon know how sincere the Democrats are about this -- but
more than that we will hold them to sincerity (because we are stuck with
them and have no choice -- have to force them -- with the Kuchinich
plane -- to end this war and save our country. No one ever
said that Democrats don't know what the right thing to do looks like -- but
the only way they can prove to us that the Kuchinich plan is not just another
bait-and-switch trick is by forcing it through now. Make
it the litmus test for every Democrat. Does Hillary support the Kuchinich
Spinach? -- if not drum her out of the party. etc. by popular
declamation. Kucinich may be offering his plan merely as a
political trick to drain off anti-war support for third-party candidates
to help elect Hillary -- but we don't have to play that game --
if he is serious let him fight for it now -- if the Democrats could
possibly get behind a Kucinich program in 2008 let them prove
it by getting behind it in January of 2007. You know
this is the smartest thing we can do for our country -- so anyone who ignores
this idea -- tell him he has to eat Kucinich Spinach or you can't wate
time talking with him anymore. There is no reason for you and
I and the families of the soldiers who will die in the next two years and
the soldiers who will become killers in the next two years to wait on Democrats
seeing if Kucinich wins the primaries before getting with his plane. We
need Kuchinish Spinach right now. We've been hit by "Bluto"
long enough -- it's time for "Popeye" to squeeze open the can.
-- Dick Eastman
- The Kucinich Plan for Iraq Withdrawal and Restoring theAmerican
- These are the elements of the Kucinich Plan:
- 1. The US announces it will end the occupation, close
military bases and withdraw. The insurgency has been fueled by the occupation
and the prospect of a long-term presence as indicated by the building of
permanent bases. A US declaration of an intention to withdraw troops and
close bases will help dampen the insurgency which has been inspired to
resist colonization and fight invaders and those who have supported US
policy. Furthermore this will provide an opening where parties within Iraq
and in the region can set the stage for negotiations towards peaceful settlement.
- 2. US announces that it will use existing funds to bring
the troops and necessary equipment home. Congress appropriated $70 billion
in bridge funds on October 1st for the war. Money from this and other DOD
accounts can be used to fund the troops in the field over the next few
months, and to pay for the cost of the return of the troops, (which has
been estimated at between $5 and $7 billion dollars) while a political
settlement is being negotiated and preparations are made for a transition
to an international security and peacekeeping force.
- 3. Order a simultaneous return of all US contractors
to the United States and turn over all contracting work to the Iraqi government.
The contracting process has been rife with world-class corruption, with
contractors stealing from the US Government and cheating the Iraqi people,
taking large contracts and giving 5% or so to Iraqi subcontractors.
- Reconstruction activities must be reorganized and closely
monitored in Iraq by the Iraqi government, with the assistance of the international
community. The massive corruption as it relates to US contractors, should
be investigated by congressional committees and federal grand juries. The
lack of tangible benefits, the lack of accountability for billions of dollars,
while millions of Iraqis do not have a means of financial support, nor
substantive employment, cries out for justice.
- It is noteworthy that after the first Gulf War, Iraqis
reestablished electricity within three months, despite sanctions. Four
years into the US occupation there is no water, nor reliable electricity
in Baghdad, despite massive funding from the US and from the Madrid conference.
The greatest mystery involves the activities of private security companies
who function as mercenaries. Reports of false flag operations must be investigated
by an international tribunal.
- 4. Convene a regional conference for the purpose of developing
a security and stabilization force for Iraq. The focus should be on a process
which solves the problems of Iraq. The US has told the international community,
"This is our policy and we want you to come and help us implement
it." The international community may have an interest in helping Iraq,
but has no interest in participating in the implementation of failed US
- A shift in US policy away from unilateralism and toward
cooperation will provide new opportunities for exploring common concerns
about the plight of Iraq. The UN is the appropriate place to convene, through
the office of the Secretary General, all countries that have interests,
concerns and influence, including the five permanent members of the Security
Council and the European community, and all Arab nations.
- The end of the US occupation and the closing of military
bases are necessary preconditions for such a conference. When the US creates
a shift of policy and announces it will focus on the concerns of the people
of Iraq, it will provide a powerful incentive for nations to participate.
- It is well known that while some nations may see the
instability in Iraq as an opportunity, there is also an even-present danger
that the civil war in Iraq threatens the stability of nations throughout
the region. The impending end of the occupation will provide a breakthrough
for the cooperation between the US and the UN and the UN and countries
of the region. The regional conference must include Iran, Syria, Egypt,
Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
- 5. Prepare an international security and peacekeeping
force to move in, replacing US troops who then return home. The UN has
an indispensable role to play here, but cannot do it as long as the US
is committed to an occupation. The UN is the only international organization
with the ability to mobilize and the legitimacy to authorize troops.
- The UN is the place to develop the process, to build
the political consensus, to craft a political agreement, to prepare the
ground for the peacekeeping mission, to implement the basis of an agreement
that will end the occupation and begin the transition to international
peacekeepers. This process will take at least three months from the time
the US announces the intention to end the occupation.
- The US will necessarily have to fund a peacekeeping mission,
which, by definition will not require as many troops. Fifty percent of
the peacekeeping troops must come from nations with large Muslim populations.
The international security force, under UN direction, will remain in place
until the Iraqi government is capable of handling its own security. The
UN can field an international security and peacekeeping mission, but such
an initiative will not take shape unless there is a peace to keep, and
that will be dependent upon a political process which reaches agreement
between all the Iraqi parties. Such an agreement means fewer troops will
- According to UN sources, the UN the peacekeeping mission
in the Congo, which is four times larger in area than Iraq, required about
twenty thousand troops. Finally the UN does not mobilize quickly because
they depend upon governments to supply the troops, and governments are
slow. The ambition of the UN is to deploy in less than ninety days. However,
without an agreement of parties the UN is not likely to approve a mission
to Iraq, because countries will not give them troops.
- 6. Develop and fund a process of national reconciliation.
The process of reconciliation must begin with a national conference, organized
with the assistance of the UN and with the participation of parties who
can create, participate in and affect the process of reconciliation, defined
as an airing of all grievances and the creation of pathways toward open,
transparent talks producing truth and resolution of grievances. The Iraqi
government has indicated a desire for the process of reconciliation to
take place around it, and that those who were opposed to the government
should give up and join the government. Reconciliation must not be confused
with capitulation, nor with realignments for the purposes of protecting
- For example, Kurds need to be assured that their own
autonomy will be regarded and therefore obviate the need for the Kurds
to align with religious Shia for the purposes of self-protection. The problem
in Iraq is that every community is living in fear. The Shia, who are the
majority fear they will not be allowed to government even though they are
a majority. The Kurds are afraid they will lose the autonomy they have
gained. The Sunnis think they will continue to be made to pay for the sins
- A reconciliation process which brings people together
is the only way to overcome their fears and reconcile their differences.
It is essential to create a minimum of understanding and mutual confidence
between the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds.
- But how can a reconciliation process be constructed in
Iraq when there is such mistrust: Ethnic cleansing is rampant. The police
get their money from the US and their ideas from Tehran. They function
as religious militia, fighting for supremacy, while the Interior Ministry
collaborates. Two or three million people have been displaced. When someone
loses a family member, a loved one, a friend, the first response is likely
to be that there is no reconciliation.
- It is also difficult to move toward reconciliation when
one or several parties engaged in the conflict think they can win outright.
The Shia, some of whom are out for revenge, think they can win because
they have the defacto support of the US. The end of the US occupation will
enhance the opportunity for the Shia to come to an accommodation with the
Sunnis. They have the oil, the weapons, and support from Iran. They have
little interest in reconciling with those who are seen as Baathists.
- The Sunnis think they have experience, as the former
army of Saddam, boasting half a million people insurgents. The Sunnis have
so much more experience and motivation that as soon as the Americans leave
they believe they can defeat the Shia government. Any Sunni revenge impulses
can be held in check by international peacekeepers. The only sure path
toward reconciliation is through the political process. All factions and
all insurgents not with al Queda must be brought together in a relentless
process which involves Saudis, Turks and Iranians.
- 7. Reconstruction and Jobs. Restart the failed reconstruction
program in Iraq. Rebuild roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, and other
public facilities, houses, and factories with jobs and job training going
to local Iraqis.
- 8. Reparations. The US and Great Britain have a high
moral obligation to enable a peace process by beginning a program of significant
reparations to the people of Iraq for the loss of lives, physical and emotional
injuries, and damage to property. There should be special programs to rescue
the tens of thousands of Iraqi orphans from lives of destitution. This
is essential to enable reconciliation.
- 9. Political Sovereignty. Put an end to suspicions that
the US invasion and occupation was influenced by a desire to gain control
of Iraq's oil assets by A) setting aside initiatives to privatize Iraqi
oil interests or other national assets, and B) by abandoning efforts to
change Iraqi national law to facilitate privatization.
- Any attempt to sell Iraqi oil assets during the US occupation
will be a significant stumbling block to peaceful resolution. The current
Iraqi constitution gives oil proceeds to the regions and the central government
gets nothing. There must be fairness in the distribution of oil resources
in Iraq. An Iraqi National Oil Trust should be established to guarantee
the oil assets will be used to create a fully functioning infrastructure
with financial mechanisms established protect the oil wealth for the use
of the people of Iraq.
- 10. Iraq Economy. Set forth a plan to stabilize Iraq's
cost for food and energy, on par to what the prices were before the US
invasion and occupation. This would block efforts underway to raise the
price of food and energy at a time when most Iraqis do not have the means
to meet their own needs.
- 11. Economic Sovereignty. Work with the world community
to restore Iraq's fiscal integrity without structural readjustment measures
of the IMF or the World Bank.
- 12. International Truth and Reconciliation. Establish
a policy of truth and reconciliation between the people of the United States
and the people of Iraq. In 2002, I led the effort in the House of Representatives
challenging the Bush Administration's plans to go to war in Iraq. I organized
125 Democrats to vote against the Iraq war resolution. The analysis I offered
at that time stands out in bold relief for its foresight when compared
to the assessments of many who today aspire to national leadership. Just
as the caution I urged four years ago was well-placed, so the plan I am
presenting today is workable, and it responds to the will of the American
people, expressed this past November. This is a moment for clarity and
foresight. This is a moment to take a new direction in Iraq. One with honor
and dignity. One which protects our troops and rescues Iraqi civilians.
One which repairs our relationship with Iraqis and with the world.
- Thank you,
- Dennis J Kucinich