Progressive Democrats of America – 2005-11-07 07:55:51
A PEOPLE’S PETITION FOR AN IRAQ PEACE PROCESS
” For Mr. Bush, questions about an exit strategy in Iraq have become especially delicate as a crowd of anti-war protestors has expanded at the edge of his ranch, rallying around Cindy Sheehan, the California woman whose son Casey was killed in Iraq in 2004.”
— New York Times, Aug. 12, 2005
Like our friend Cindy Sheehan, we are tired of waiting for our troops to come home. Tired of the bloodshed, tired of tax dollar waste, tired of torture cover-ups, tired of contractor scandals, tired of deceit and fabrication. We are tired of elected officials with profiles in compromise rather than courage.
It is dishonest to admit there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, only to invent new reasons for inflicting mass destruction on that country.
It is dishonorable to fix the facts around the policy.
It is unacceptable to admit that going to war was a mistake, only to claim that the mistake must be perpetuated.
Because we cannot wait for our government to lead, we shall become leaders in ending the war ourselves. We shall propose an exit strategy from Iraq and demand that our government listen and follow. Because we cannot wait for our government to plan for peace, we call on civil society to make our government pay attention.
There are simply no military solutions to this bloodshed. The American military presence is the main cause of the violent response from Iraqis, rooted in nationalism, religion and culture. US policies are pushing Iraq towards civil war, with our government funding and arming Shiites and Kurds against Sunnis.
Nearly half of the Iraqi national assembly has called for the departure of the occupation. The State Department’s own internal surveys show that a majority of Iraqis feel less safe with the presence of the American occupying forces.
Iraqis themselves are calling for the end of occupation. One million recently signed an anti-war petition. One-third of Iraq’s current parliamentarians have appealed for the “departure of the occupation.” Initial peace talks among Iraqis already are underway. Our government is deaf to these Iraqi voices for peace.
It is time to shift from a military model to a conflict resolution model aimed at a peace process and negotiated political settlement.
We propose the following principles as essential to ending the war in Iraq:
• First, as a confidence-building measure, the US government must declare that it has no interest in permanent military bases or the control of Iraqi oil or other resources.
• Second, as a further confidence-building measure, the US government must set goals for ending the occupation and bringing all our troops home – in months, not years, beginning with an initial withdrawal of troops by the end of this year.
• Third, the US government must request that the United Nations monitor the process of military disengagement and de-escalation, and organize a peaceful reconstruction effort. The US must accept its obligation to fairly compensate Iraqis for damages and assist and assist Iraqi reconstruction while not imposing privatization schemes and while ending the dominance of US contractors in the bidding process.
• Fourth, the US government should appoint a peace envoy independent of the occupation authorities to underscore its commitment to an entirely different mission, that of a peace process ending the occupation and returning our soldiers home.
• Fifth, the peace envoy should encourage and cooperate in talks with Iraqi groups opposed to the occupation, including insurgents, to explore a political settlement.
The settlement must include representation of opposition forces and parties, and power-sharing as a core principle of governance and economic and energy development. We believe such an initiative will reduce though not eliminate violence, by lessening any rationale for jihadist or sectarian conflict.
• We send this message to all Americans in civil society, to our elected officials, and to the global peace movement.
• We demand that Congressional hearings begin to define an exit strategy now.
• We demand that members of Congress, reflecting the will of the people, adopt policy and budget initiatives that call for an exit strategy based on the above principles.
• We demand a peace envoy, peace talks with the opposition, reconstruction, the closure of US bases and the safe return home of all American troops.