Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Michael Perelman's Peace Plan For Iraq

I'm not much of a fan of Milton Friedman, but he once offered a very interesting suggestion to rid society of crime.

"The first and most obvious [way to reduce the amount of crime] is to reduce the range of activities that are designated as illegal. Surely, one reason for the growth in crime is that the number of activities that are classified as such, has multiplied in recent decades."

Friedman, Milton. 1997. "Economics of Crime." The Journal of Economic Perspectives , Vol. 11, No. 2 (Spring): p. 194.

Following Friedman's logic the Defense Department found a simple strategy for evacuating the cities.

"On a map of Baghdad, the US Army's Forward Operating Base Falcon is clearly within city limits. Except that Iraqi and American military officials have decided it's not. As the June 30 deadline for US soldiers to be out of Iraqi cities approaches, there are no plans to relocate the roughly 3,000 American troops who help maintain security in south Baghdad along what were the fault lines in the sectarian war. "We and the Iraqis decided it wasn't in the city," says a US military official. The base on the southern outskirts of Baghdad's Rasheed district is an example of the fluidity of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) agreed to late last year, which orders all US combat forces out of Iraqi cities, towns, and villages by June 30."

Arraf, Jane. 2009. "To Meet June Deadline, US and Iraqis Redraw City Borders." Christian Science Monitor (19 May).

Here is my suggestion: just redefine Iraq to be the Green Zone. Declare victory now that U.S. government has conquered the country. The rest could be disputed territory, such as Israel defines the West Bank. The United Nations, Iraq's neighbors, or even the Iraqi people could sort out what to do with this disputed.

Republicans should be delighted to be able to claim that Bush's policy is vindicated. Democrats could crow about how they achieved peace. And the Defense Department could find a less dangerous land to bomb.


joel hanes said...

All through the day, they looked at the bomb line on the big wobbling easel map of Italy that blew over in the wind and was dragged in under the awning of the intelligence tent every time the rain began. The bomb line was a scarlet band of narrow satin ribbon that delineated the forwardmost position of the Allied ground forces in every sector of the Italian mainland.

The morning after Hungry Joe's fist fight with Huple's cat, the rain stopped falling in both places. The landing strip began to dry. It would take a full twenty-four hours to harden; but the sky remained cloudless. The resentments incubating in each man hatched into hatred. First they hated the infantrymen on the mainland because they had failed to capture Bologna. Then they began to hate the bomb line itself. For hours they stared relentlessly at the scarlet ribbon on the map and hated it because it would not move up high enough to encompass the city. When night fell, they congregated in the darkness with flashlights, continuing their macabre vigil at the bomb line in brooding entreaty as though hoping to move the ribbon up by the collective weight of their sullen prayers.

"I really can't believe it," Clevinger exclaimed to Yossarian in
a voice rising and falling in protest and wonder. "It's a complete
reversion to primitive superstition. They're confusing cause and
effect. It makes as much sense as knocking on wood or crossing your
fingers. They really believe that we wouldn't have to fly that
mission tomorrow if someone would only tiptoe up to the map in the
middle of the night and move the bomb line over Bologna. Can you
imagine? You and I must be the only rational ones left."

In the middle of the night Yossarian knocked on wood, crossed his
fingers, and tiptoed out of his tent to move the bomb line up over

Corporal Kolodny tiptoed stealthily into Captain Black's tent early the next morning, reached inside the mosquito net and gently shook the moist shoulder blade he found there until Captain Black opened his eyes. "What are you waking me up for?" whimpered Captain Black.

"They captured Bologna, sir," said Corporal Kolodny. "I thought you'd want to know. Is the mission cancelled?"

Captain Black tugged himself erect and began scratching his scrawny long thighs methodically. In a little while he dressed and emerged from his tent, squinting, cross, and unshaven. The sky was clear and warm. He peered without emotion at the map. Sure enough, they had captured Bologna. Inside the intelligence tent, Corporal Kolodny was already removing the maps of Bologna from the navigation kits.

Myrtle Blackwood said...

How about renaming the Department of Defence the Department of Aggression.

Then the American public will want to close it down and there won't be anymore wars!

"From the start of America's active participation in World War II in 1941 through the end of its involvement in Vietnam in 1973, the country had engaged in some form of military conflict abroad for 29 years, with only three years of respite."

Living Ideas in America, 605: "3 Peaceful Years in 3 Decades," US News & World Report, Feb 12, 1973. 24-25

Since then? Chile, (Australia's non-military coup), Nicaragua, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Georgia, Ecuador, Panama, Israel.... not least of all the corporate paramilitary forces in so many nations.

Anonymous said...

"War is a racket"

Smedley Butler.

The pentagon lost any reason for mobilization when the Communists failed to oust Yeltsin in 1991. Up til then they drooled over the ficition of a Red Army Schleffen Plan to conquer Europe. Spending vast sums to bankrupt both the Soviet Union and US.

Continuous mobilization was consuming around 7% of GDP. Too much wealth transfer to go away.

Perpetual war replaced continuous mobilization.

Now you may hear about full spectrum dominance as the reason to continue to bankrupt the US. I rather describe it as broad spectrum (BS) planning for wasting the kids' future.

War is good for taking income and SS taxes and making some people prosperous and not deliver any value to the country at large.

2500 years ago Sun Tzu said no pronce or state propsers from long war.

The US currently spends as many inflation adjusted dollars on perpetual war as in 1970.