Iraq: The root cause driving the insurgency and sectarian violence is a 60% unemployment rate. The solution is an immediate infusion of cash to create two million jobs and the distribution of electrical generators

The seeds of today's insurgency were sowed by Paul Bremer in May 2003

In March of 2003, the US led invasion of Iraq went quickly. By early May, the US President, George W Bush, declared aboard an aircraft carrier that major combat operations were over and the coalition forces had prevailed. While the US military was already working with the fallen governments police forces to establish order, then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced that a man named Paul Bremer would be responsible for writing the laws and establishing the rule of law in Iraq.

The DeBaathification order

In May, 2003, no one in the media questioned what Paul Bremer was doing. The public position of various administration spokesmen was that the US would be in Iraq for 10 years or longer. We were an occupying force. We were going to hold elections and set up a model democracy that would be a shining example for other middle-east countries to follow. Then came Paul Bremer's first order in May: "shoot the looters."

When General Zinni argued with Paul Bremer on this issue, he was quickly relieved of his command and replaced with another General. The order to shoot the looters was never carried out due to intervention by Rumsfeld.

However, a few weeks later in May, 2003, with the approval of Donald Rumsfeld, George Bush and his VP Dick Cheney, Paul Bremer issued his now infamous debaathification order that led to the purging of tens of thousands of Sunni's, nearly all of them members of the Saddam Hussein's Baath party, from the government. In addition, the 500,000 man army was dissolved.

Bremer, Bush and Rumsfeld did not foresee that a million or more Sunnis without jobs would get violent and rebel against the invaders.

The far reaching results of Bremer's order was to instantly create an economic depression in Anbar province among the Sunni population. With only Shiites and Kurds eligible for jobs and with few jobs to be had, resentment grew quickly and so did an insurgency that was in its infancy.

From 0% unemployed under Saddam Hussein to 60% unemployed under the US occupation.

Dec 17, 2006: On NBC's Meet the Press with Tim Russert this morning is former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich who said that there was an appalling 60% unemployment rate in Iraq. He said that taking steps to reduce the unemployment rate such as setting up a government work program would reduce the insurgency and is an approach that needs to be tried. I couldn't agree more.

When Saddam Hussein was in power, everyone who wanted to work had a job. While the standard of living was low, there was 100% employment as the socialist government was the employer of last resort. When the US Coalition under Paul Bremer took over, more than a million Sunni's, Baath party members, were sent home with no severance pay, no unemployment compensation and no job offers.

Too few jobs drive the insurgency

As the violence against the foreign occupiers escalated, the electrical grid was damaged and soon there was little or no electricity. The air conditioners and lights no longer worked and clean tap water stopped flowing. Nearly 2 million Iraqi's fled the country to neighboring Jordan and Syria while an insurrection against the occupiers grew from within the country.

There is little doubt that the insurgency has been fueled mainly by the extremely high unemployment rate. The role of Al-Queda, vastly exaggerated by the Bush Adm, has been less than 5% of the insurgents. The combination of no jobs and no electricity makes for vast human misery and suffering that has led to the extreme violence in Iraq that erupts daily.

While religious differences is a strain in iraq between Sunni's and Shiites, it is not the main reason for the insurgency - massive unemployment remains the number one cause. You could say "It's the economy stupid."

US policy in Iraq unintentionally promoted sectarian violence when Bremer banned all former Baath party members (Sunni's) from government jobs and favored the Shiites for the few jobs that were available. When the Shiites were favored by coalition forces for government jobs, it caused resentment among the Sunni's who led horrendous attacks against the Shiites, mostly those applying for jobs working for the government. Sending more troops into Baghdad will not stop this violence. Job creation alone will end the insurgency and restore stability.

To all honorable members of Congress -

End the violence in Iraq now by changing the US mission from a combat role to a humanitarian mission - create jobs for the unemployed, restore electrical power and clean running water

What needs to be done is for US forces to cease all combat activities and instead offer only humanitarian assistance to the people of Iraq at 100 or more distribution centers. US forces will give surplus food to the needy, offer free medical care and electrical generators and cash for temporary work in local projects deemed important by military commanders plus the following. -

  • 1. Implement by law all the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group led by former Sec. of State James Baker and Lee Hamilton plus do the following -
  • 2. Free Health Clinics and Food Distribution: Set up health clinics in all cities to offer free health care and medicine to all who ask for it plus donate 5000 tons of surplus food from US stockpiles for distribution to the needy.
  • 3. Invest 5 billion to purchase half a million small household size electrical generators (diesel and/or gas with 2500 to 5000 KW output) as well as several thousand larger generators to run hospitals and factories for distribution in Iraq. Offer the small generators to individual home owners who have daily electrical interruptions.
  • 4. Announce an end to all US combat operations and a conditional ceasefire to take effect within the next 14 days. There will be no more house to house searches, no American troops on city streets and no manning of checkpoints by US and coalition forces. US forces will only go into the cities if local Iraqi authorities request their assistance. However, US forces have the right of self-defense and will return fire if fired upon.
  • 5. Provide 5 Billion in an Emergency fund infrastructure repair and rebuilding grants. Local US military commanders may at their discretion provide repair funds of up to $1000 cash per household for homes and up to $5000 for business repairs resulting from the war. Larger grants for cities and communities for repairs, to rebuild water purification plants as well as businesses damaged by the war may be referred by the military to the US Embassy in Baghdad and approved on a case by case basis determined by how great the need is and how many jobs it will provide.
  • 6. Invest an additional 10 billion to create 2 million civil service temporary jobs for up to one year. As the violence subsides and the local economy improves, these temporary jobs will be scaled back.
  • 7. Offer up to 5 Billion in loans to small business as start up money - interest free and no payback on the loans required for the first year.
  • 8. Financing: To stabilize Iraq without incurring further debt to US taxpayers, Congress is to authorize the US Treasury to make an inter-governmental loan from the Bureau of Mint and Engraving to the US Treasury for the sum of 25 Billion in Federal Reserve Notes to be printed in denominations determined by the Sec. of the Treasury. The Secretary of the Treasury will sign a promissory note to the Bureau of Mint and Engraving for the sum of 25 Billion Dollars for a term of 30 years at zero percent interest. After 30 years, the note may be paid, renewed for another 30 years or disposed of as determined by Congress. The US Treasury will establish and deposit the 25 billion in currency in a special account, separate from general US funds, at the Federal Reserve Bank for dispersement in Iraq. The General Accounting Office (GAO) will audit the dispersement of the funds at the Federal Reserve Bank on an annual basis and report to Congress on any corruption, misused or missing funds.
  • 9. Hire Iraqi's, not foreigners. To further help create more jobs for Iraqi's, Halliburton and other corporations who are being paid by the US government for reconstruction services in Iraq must hire at least 90% of their employees from inside Iraq with 10% or less from outside the country within 180 days of this Act becoming law.
  • 10. Stop the deployment of new troops to Iraq within 60 days of this ACT becoming law and prohibit the extension of service of those who are already deployed in Iraq. This will lead to the withdrawal of all combat troops within the next 12 months (except for marines needed to help guard the US Embassy).
  • If you agree with this 10 point plan to stabilize Iraq and end the violence by changing the US mission in Iraq from a combat role to a humanitarian one, and to finance these efforts without adding to the interest-bearing US National debt, send a copy of this 2 page proposal to your Congressman and US Senator with a handwritten note asking them to introduce legislation to implement this plan now!

    This document was drafted by Conrad LeBeau on December 24th, 2006. Copies of this article and peace plan may be reprinted for distribution.
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