Monday, September 18, 2006

A “Financial” Solution to the Iraq War

A “Financial” Solution to the Iraq War

I have been contemplating and searching for a solution to the current Iraq war. Amid the 5th year anniversary of 9/11 and the 2006 mid term election, I found my self thinking “outside the box”, looking for a solution that will be acceptable to all parties.

I think I have come up with a good viable plan and it is simple and elegant though not cheap.

Here are the basic elements of my plan:

1. For every registered Iraqi citizen, a monetary compensation of $10,000 US dollars will be given – no strings attached as to how it is to be spent with the following provision. They must sign an agreement to pledge allegiance to the Iraqi elected government and that they will renounce all violence against Coalition forces and not participate in any sectarian violence. If charged and convicted in a court of law, they will forfeit the balance of the funds.
2. The funds will be administered by a third party for example the Swiss banks and the funds will be placed in the person’s named account with the only stipulation that they can only withdraw 1/5 per annum for the total of 5 years.
3. Assume estimate of 12 Million Iraqi citizens, at 10,000 will equal $120 Billion. Divided over 5 years will require $24 Billion per year. This fund will come from approx. 3 equal sources. 1/3 from the Iraqi oil production. 1/3 from private foundations worldwide and individual donations and 1/3 from the International governments as members of the UN and paying the same portion of contribution towards their UN dues. Any shortfall will be covered by a loan from the World Bank.
4. This is a one time only compensation paid to Iraqi citizens in reparation for years of suffering under Saddam and for the failure of the UN “oil for food” program and for the pain and suffering of the current Iraq war. This is not a new concept since we have made similar payments to Japanese internment families to compensate for past wrongs.
5. A promise by the Coalition countries that all foreign troops will be rotated out from Iraq over the next 6 months to 1 year assuming the “plan” will be implemented and “working”. By “working”, I mean specific measurements of reduction of violence, formation of government ministries, training of police and defense troops and rebuilding of infrastructure.
6. No funds will be provided to any illegal foreigners and an added bonus will be provided to any individual that turns in a foreign fighter to the local police.
7. This plan will be reviewed every 6 months and adjustments made as necessary including canceling of plan if deemed unworkable.

This plan will provide both carrot and stick to insure that violence will be reduced and the various factions working together for the “common good”. It is a ”win-win” plan that few people in and out of Iraq will oppose and in fact I believe all would support.
Though the “plan” is not cheap, it is a viable solution to a difficult situation. Continue fighting in Iraq will cost more deaths and destruction and will cost more money in the long run. This is a humane plan that even all pacifists can support. Money will be well spent for food and necessities and for capital improvements and for starting businesses instead of wasted on arms and weapons and bombs and missiles.

I have only suggested a workable amount for illustration purposes. The actual amount should be determined by professionals that understand the local economy of Iraq better than I. It should be sufficiently large to get each family up on their feet but not too large to deter them from working. That should be the only criteria. Once they understand that they have a future and resources to protect, they will less likely join the resistance and commit suicide by blowing themselves up or kill their neighbors.

My inspiration for this plan came while riding on the Metro North train from Westchester to NYC for my service on a jury. With the 5th year anniversary of 9/11, and the current election cycle, and my recent dialogs with a “liberal” friend who is a Quaker, I came upon this proposal. I hope you will give it a serious consideration and provide feedback.

I look forward to any comments or suggestion or any other viable ideas...

Jack C. Lee
Yorktown Hts. NY
Sept 14, 2006