Even the most die-hard defenders of the Iraq War Venture now agree that it is very hard to make the conduct of this whole torturous enterprise look like an achievement.
Even at the very heart of the Empire, the center of gravity in the public debate has long since shifted from the question of whether or not it was right to invade Iraq in the first place to the question of how fast the US can get out, while saving face and minimizing regret.
So far, the alternatives posed in this debate have included a surfeit of simplistic, faith-based alternatives: the Republican Right’s blind faith in «troop surges» and sticking it out; the Iraq War Commission’s blind faith in talking to Iran, the Saudis, and Syria; the Left-Democrats’ blind faith in «cut and walk;» the Right-Democrat’s blind faith in the ability of Iraq’s subgroups to sort themselves and their oil wealth into neat ethnic communities.
From a slight distance, this discourse has several striking features. First, it has been prosaic, repetitious, and boring. Despite a huge investment of resources, there have just not been that many creative ideas.
Second, the Iraq War has produced a panoply of weird realignments in political positions and alliances, relative to conventional «Left-Right» divides. We have Left-Democrats who have argued for humanitarian military interventions in Darfur, Haiti, Uganda, and Bosnia while staunchly opposing Saddam’s ouster; we have Right-Democrats who have been life-long supporters of Third World dictatorships, including Saddam’s, suddenly becoming Jacobite crusaders for a global democratic revolution; we have cautious conservatives in both parties lurching between support for unprovoked invasions of a country that had never attacked us and support for a precipitate «drop-dead» withdrawal from a country that our military has utterly ravaged.
In the interests of breaking this logjam, and provoking a better debate, the following article presents a proposal for pacifying Iraq. In the longer run, the goal is of the plan is a relatively free-market, competitive, peaceful, stable, unified, as secular as possible, but (at least temporarily) not “democratic” Iraq within its current borders.
This plan’s goals can be accomplished within five years, with the US military’s commitment to Iraq declining every year, and violence becoming insignificant within two years. This plan will include the establishment of verifiable benchmarks. As we’ll argue, since our key enemy in Iraq has been our own wrongheaded policies, the chances of success depend entirely on us.
This plan is based on comprehensive measures that lead to the self-organization of the Iraqi society, down to – or up to – the level of each individual citizen. As a result of this increase in internal controls and self policing – and not by virtue of external controls – Iraqi society will calm down and regain its civic functions, and that will happen because of the system that allows a society to control and manage itself from within. This increase in internal controls will eliminate the need for the US military’s presence.
Suppose Jason takes a walk down the street and we want him to stop walking.
We can view this problem from two rather different perspectives:
First, we could try to understand Jason’s viewpoint and persuade him to stop. Second, we could attach hundred pound weights to each of his legs, so that whatever he may think, he is not walking.
In the same way, I believe that the pacification of Iraq is a simple technical task. That doesn’t mean that weighting Jason’s legs is the most ethical way to make him stop walking, but it sure does work.
What caused the problem?
We made wrong assumptions about the Iraqi society. We introduced “democracy” to it, the way one would make a horse wear a baseball cap: it only makes the horse mad and causes it to kick wildly. We destroyed all institutions and all checks and balances that the Iraqi society had and instead put in a government that is dysfunctional and/or was made dysfunctional by us. We observed the Iraqi society through the sights of our guns and were strictly reactive, instead of being proactive and implementing a comprehensive set of measures that would make the Iraqi society modern, functional, and secure.
We made three assumptions that are profoundly wrong:
- We all agree that what we want to do in Iraq is good for Iraqis. Therefore, we reasoned, Iraqis will support us. Now, this assumption is wrong: improvements cause great social resistance. People are attached to bad things, grow fond of them, and cannot live without them. If a foreign power were to occupy America trying to make sure we do not smoke, drink, take drugs, eat junk food, trust the government, or watch television, America would be fighting back hard, even though it is obvious for most of us that we badly need just such an occupation.
- We assumed that since flashing a middle finger does not hurt, it cannot be offensive. Well, it can. We came in a close contact with a society that is very set in its ways and very different from ours.
- We did not come as tourists, who are treated as irrelevant outsiders. We did not come as cruel invaders, who made clear from the start that the opinion of the conquered is not relevant. Instead, we came as doctors who wanted to give an Iraqi patient a new heart. But we come from a different era, and were a bit culturally incentive. We gave our human patient a huge heart of an elephant, and now our patient may die. We need to get our patient a new human heart, a heart that will fit inside his chest, and we should do so quickly.
We see in Iraq a war between Shia and Sunni or a military conflict between America and Iraq. But these are just manifestations of a real cause of conflict: a violent clash between American and Iraqi values, a clash of the ways Americans and Iraqis see themselves and the world around them. We have lost the sense of history and think that George Washington could shop at Wal-Mart as calmly as we do. But people are not robots that could be instantly reprogrammed: people are attached to their background and thus would resist an abrupt change into the unknown.
Because of these major mistakes, this article will appear to be very critical of the US policies. But it is not. Let us put everything in perspective. In all human history no country invaded another country solely to save it from a horrible regime, to give its people better quality of life. America is doing that in Iraq. No wonder we have no experience in such an endeavor, but the good intentions are there. While good intentions alone are not enough and can indeed be extremely dangerous when those who are guided by them are stupid, it is better to have good intentions than not to have them. To look the other way when others are suffering is always worse than an attempt at rescue, even if it fails. America has time and again accomplished what seemed to be impossible, because Americans believe in the better nature of people, in fact, sees no limit to how great human accomplishment can be. And while America has in this instance proven blinded by its own ideology, America’s whole problem in Iraq was caused by its failure to recognize the need for certain simple techniques and to implement them correctly. No problem: these techniques are listed and explained below. Iraqi problem can be solved with much greater ease than we think.
Essentially, our conflict with Iraq can be represented as follows: we came to some Iraqi’s house, broke down the door, blew up the TV set, and when the owner of the house, his wife, and the kids came running down, we said, “Look, your wife is really ugly. Why don’t you hang this useless bitch and go marry Angelina Jolie as she is much prettier?” Well, objectively, the master of the house understands that his old lady is not a looker. Please note, we gave Iraqis a good advice: democracy IS better than their rotten Saddam regime. And yet, the guy is upset. First, it is his wife, to whom he’s been married for twenty odd years and who bore him a few kids. Secondly, as he is a fifty year old fat gas station attendant, he has some doubts as to whether Angelina will marry him. He is also very upset because we blew up his TV and do not talk to him politely. Seeing mommy and daddy crying, the couple’s young son uses his slingshot against us and puts a bleeding scratch on our cheek. At that, we catch the young insurgent and smash his head against the wall. Why? Because Angelina is prettier, we did give the guy a good advice! But being pretty is not all: following the Iraqi’s cultural tradition, this Iraqi would only consider marrying a virgin, and he doubts that Angelina fits the bill. So, what we really offered to this Iraqi is not a beautiful woman for a wife, but a grave embarrassment he would not be able to deal with, considering the society he lives in. On reflection, it would have been better to come to the front door and politely offer the Mrs. a good facial cream at a discounted price.
Let us try to force a person without a pilot license to fly a plane. He knows he would crush and in order not to be seated at the controls would kick and scream or hug a tree for dear life. But as soon as you tell him that he will fly as a passenger, he will calm down: he knows that planes are safe. Please note that his fight was not against the plane but against his own background: not flying a plane or obtaining a pilot license corrects the problem.
Similarly, background of some Iraqis does not correspond to a society that is being forcefully imposed on them. In time, that can be corrected, but now we should recognize that the problem exists, and is in fact, legitimate. We cannot continue to represent our opponents as psychos, possessed by a sudden and inexplicable urge to destroy and to self-destruct: we need to understand them and give them the opportunity to adjust their background and to change their behavior accordingly. Iraqis react to the US occupation in normal ways, and because of that their negative reaction can be easily removed.
Lose-lose vs. win-win
We should start by realizing that life in Iraq had been organized according to the lose-lose mode of interaction, but this way of life was threatened by the US invasion which aims to impose a very different mode of interaction, namely the win-win.
People view a lose-lose society as one that would not be preferred by anyone, and this is wrong. People adapt to the lose-lose framework, think that this is the only framework that is possible, and even learn to “flourish” within it. Not to the extent that a win-win person could flourish in a win-win framework, but still… A winner in a boxing match gets a fee, and yes, having his nose broken is his idea of a fine evening. The US invasion represented a fundamental threat to the Iraqi way of life, indicating that what may be coming is the win-win era. In some Iraqis, this created natural anxiety and rejection. If you tell an aggressive boxer that from now on he could only make a living as an obsequious waiter, it would make him feel terrible anxiety, much greater than the one he used to feel at the start of a bloody fistfight.
Why do we assume that all peoples of the world have absolutely the same cultural and social aspiration, and not just the same, but those of the world’s most advanced, successful, and wealthy society? How can our insistence on democracy coincide with our absolute refusal to consider what these particular people actually think? How can we fail to see that people’s will can be destructive and self-destructive so that creating conditions under which such people freely express their will can be counterproductive?
The resistance in Iraq takes obvious forms: protest against American military involvement, religious strife, struggle for the spoils of corrupt power. But in reality, there is none of that. There is no reason to hate America, if it really brings a non-threatening, manageable, and desirable win-win, a win-win, in which not just the others, but I personally can participate. As soon as people of Iraq get a better way to describe themselves than Shia and Sunni, the religious strife will end, and we will be reduced to watching doctors fight lawyers, which is a fight that does not take violent forms. And if the state is not corrupt, there is something better to do than to fight for power, namely, to mind one’s own, private and striving, business.
What happens in Iraq is inability of a certain segment of the population to see themselves in the framework of the coming win-win orientated society. That could be for a host of reasons: the change coming too suddenly, the lose-lose interpretation of the Islamic religion, lack of skills to succeed in a new economy, revenge, etc. But this is the real enemy, and we should not mistake it for anything else. It is “I’d rather die right now, on the ground, than to pilot that plane!” scream of a person who simply does not have a pilot’s license.
Some Iraqis reject the social model that we propose to them, even though this model would be better than the alternatives for which they are willing to fight and die. Thus, resistance that we experience in Iraq is psychological in nature. In this paper, I will not discuss this in detail, although this is very important, but here is a short summary. Lose-lose societies are envy-based. There is envy of another person: for example, a person may be willing to put one’s life at risk, or indeed to sacrifice one’s life in order to take the lives of others. But there is also self-envy, psychological resistance to a situation that is much better than one is adjusted to.
Win or lose?
With each passing day, our current policies in Iraq create more problems than they solve. If these policies do not fundamentally change, fast, the situation in Iraq is hopeless, and all US forces should just be withdrawn, thereby accepting a major defeat with very negative and unforeseeable consequences.
But if a boy uses matches to burn down the house, it does not mean that the problem lies with the matches: it just means the boy is stupid or malicious. It is not so much Iraq that matters: it is our lack of understanding of Iraq. Most of the opposition that we have in Iraq is not “fundamental”, an opposition on principle that could not have been avoided, the way water could not be made to coexist with fire. Most of the opposition that we have in Iraq was caused by our own actions, by our lack of understanding of what was really happening. Thus, since problems in Iraq are for the most part of our own making, the situation could be resolved if only we are willing to change.
The situation in Iraq is hopeless only to the extent that our main enemy there is ourselves. Should we care to look at Iraq instead of looking at our mad ideological assumptions about it, two to five years would be enough to remake Iraq into a peaceful and prosperous ally of the United States.
Putting a bright face on a disaster
Let me restate that we want a free-market, economically competitive, peaceful, stable, and unified Iraq within its current borders. There is no acceptable alternative to this outcome, and we should stay engaged in Iraq until this objective is achieved, and, if things are done right, it is achievable within a reasonable time frame.
The option of dividing Iraq into Shia, Sunni, and Kurdish parts must be rejected out of hand. And it is not just because it could not be achieved without a huge and painful relocation of people: it is because its premise is wrong: despite appearances, what happens in Iraq is not a civil war, but a war of “lose-lose” against the possibility of “win-win”. If we split Iraq in three, we will be hated in each of the thirds. Even the Kurdish part will soon cause us a problem, because as soon as they are autonomous, they will hear from Turkey, creating a conflict we would not be able to control. If we resign to being incompetent, we should at least limit our mischief.
Here, I should note that expanding a problem is not a way to fight it. We should not attack Iran, especially not right now. Iran may well be a threat, but in crucially important ways we are not prepared to deal with the consequences of a strike on Iran. Our understanding of the area and our leadership are inadequate right now to successfully solve the Iran problem; much better to not even try.
Coming back to a proposed division of Iraq along the sectarian lines, I would say the following. Why would one sect separate from the other? The only reason is hatred. But we cannot ally ourselves with those who define themselves through their hatred of others. Those who hate will inevitably turn their weapons against us, and do so in an alliance with those whom they supposedly hated or who hated them. Why? Our society invalidates and destroys hatred, and for a hater it is the hate itself that is important, not the object of hate. We cannot win in any game that is based on hatred: our only hope of winning lies in defeating hatred. But we cannot defeat hatred unless we understand its causes and its consequences and learn not to engender it.
Because of our intervention in Iraq, many thousands of innocent people have lost their lives. And that is why we must leave Iraq much better off than it had been. What we cannot do, as a country, is to leave Iraq at our convenience, blame it all on Iraqis, and pretend that nothing happened. Should that happen, it will be a blemish on our history that we would never be able to wipe clean. We owe a big debt to the Iraqis and a big debt to our tradition of being a force of good in the world. Our only option is to learn fast and to stick with it until we succeed.
Steps to be taken
First, the violence in Iraq must stop. This is easier to achieve than we are being led to believe, as I will explain shortly. Second, each Iraqi must be controlled, classified, and assisted. Unless we comprehensively control and direct every socially significant action of every Iraqi, we will not succeed; fortunately, this task is easier than it sounds as the Iraqi society, once it is organized, will control itself. Third, we must direct every aspect of life in Iraq towards win-win, show the benefits of win-win, and make it accessible and real for everyone. When these three steps are done correctly, our objective in Iraq will be achieved. If any one of the three is neglected or fails, it won’t be. Today, none of these three steps are being pursued, and in fact in each of these areas we are moving in the opposite direction. If this continues, our catastrophic defeat in Iraq is a certainty.
Our plan for Iraq
The plan for Iraq is based what I would call a Johnny’s Rule. Johnny is 5 years old, and he likes to draw horses. If you do not let him draw a horse, Johnny could make a scene, play with matches, or break things. That does not mean that Johnny is a psycho, an arsonist, or a hooligan: it just means that he likes to draw horses. The way to deal with Johnny is to provide him with pencils and paper and, just in case, to hide the matches and to tell him that misbehaving would carry negative consequences for him. The way to deal with Johnny is to understand that he is 5. This is all the wisdom we need in Iraq. Positive behavior must be encouraged, while negative behavior must be made physically impossible and, just in case it does happen, entail certain punishment.
I hear people screaming, “But this is what is being done!!!” Absolutely not. Positive behavior is undefined, made impossible, or discouraged. Negative behavior is legitimized, allowed to thrive, or left unpunished. The results are judged from the point of view of a faulty ideology.
Whose plan is that?
The plan is simple: one part of it makes the insurgency logistically impossible and the second part of it makes sure that all Iraqis are accounted for, gainfully employed, and could prosper. The plan does not presume that all Iraqis are guilty: on the contrary, it presumes that all Iraqis are innocent and thus would willingly submit to the necessary, understandable, and temporary restrictions which are clearly aimed at restoring peace and prosperity.
This said, the plan aims to tightly control the Iraqi population in order to stop bloodshed and to enable economic life in Iraq (and any other kind of life, for that matter), to proceed. Its stringent restrictions go far beyond what is customary and legal in the US. But this is not the US plan, this is a plan for the government of Iraq, where there is an emergency rule, an occupation by a foreign power, a civil war, and a different legal tradition. To those who would say that the plan is too severe, I would reply that at least 100 Iraqis die violently every day, which is an incredible number for a country of 29 million. Also the restrictions of the plan put it more in line with Iraq tradition of tight social control, and this is good. This plan does not advocate killing anyone and would avoid Fallujah-style operations.
How do we stop the violence?
It is a Sunday, and a number of fine young men come out onto a grassy field. They have the same background, speak the same language, some know each other and are friends. But what do we see? Suddenly, they start trying to hurt and to upset one another! What happened? Now we see that these young men wear two different uniforms: some are Bears and others are Colts. Bears identify only with Bears, while Colts see Bears as their enemies. Now we realize what caused this outbreak of violence: there are two clearly identifiable teams, they have something desirable to struggle for (i.e. the Superbowl) and they are capable of upsetting one another by taking the ball away and scoring a touchdown.
And that is all we need to know. Violence is caused when two clearly identifiable teams have something to fight for and have the means of doing so.
How do we stop the violence? Easy. Imagine a football field where players are dressed in five different uniforms, there is no ball to fight for, no award is at stake, sheep are grazing right on the field, little old ladies cross the field carrying bags of groceries, and, for good measure, each of the players has a 20lb weight attached to his foot by a chain. Will there be a violent game on that field? No, it is impossible.
When America occupied Iraq, there were many unifying issues that could have been pursued: reconstruction, jobs, education, culture, freedom from fear, healing the divisions caused by Saddam. Instead, American conducted “free elections”, prompting the shell-shocked, stressed, confused Iraqis to heed the call if the radicals, separate along the religious lines, and put on the two uniforms as it were. Thus, the elections created perfect conditions for violence. That means that most of the violence was artificially created by us, in much the same way that we create the confrontation on the football field. We are paying the price for having started the game; our task now is to end it.
There was a prize to be won: spoils of the corrupt and arbitrary power (Iraq has had no experience with any other kind of power). Next came the “representative” government, where the main characteristic of the President is that he is a Kurd, while the chief claim to fame of the Prime Minister is that he is a Shiite. In Iraq after the invasion, there should have been no elections but an American-Iraqi Administration. If we support the Shia government, we will antagonize the Sunni and vice versa. And that is why the religion cannot serve as a criterion. We should not operate within the framework suggested by the enemy, but should play by our own rules.
What time is it in Iraq?
Before the invasion, Iraq had a bloodthirsty “absolute monarch”, no conception of rights, and a religion that could use a bit of Reformation. Let’s say that from the European point of view Iraqis lived in a year 1500. We occupied them and are trying to force them to live in the year 2007. What do we say by that? We say that time does not matter, that once you overturn the stature of Saddam you move from the year 1500 straight into the year 2007. But to live human beings time matters a lot. They grow and develop, it takes time, and this whole thing is called a life. And do you know what suicide is? Suicide is when time becomes unbearable, when it needs to be stopped. Suicide bomber is a person for whom time has been moving too fast, and who wants to help himself (and all those within range) to control the furiously ticking clock by stopping it or smashing it to bits. We forcefully turned the clock from the year of 1500 to the year of 2007 and now many people are dying because people cannot live outside of time: they need to be assigned at least to a century.
As you read the plan I propose, you will think of it as harsh and controlling. And it is. It is a year of 1600, and I propose that for a couple of years it is the best year for Iraq to be in. In the two years after that, we may try the year of 1700, and so on. This way, in 10 years, we will bring Iraq into the 21st century, and Iraq will still be there. It will be “accelerated growth”, but not death. To decree that today Iraq lives in the year 2007, is to kill Iraq: it is exactly the same as to wish someone a happy 612th birthday.
It is high time for a Muslim Martin Luther to appear. God has a contract with His people: to protect them for disasters. When a disaster occurs, people change their conception of God. US Army lost less than a hundred soldiers to rout the Iraqi Army and to occupy Iraq. That is why the pre-war interpretation of Islam is no longer relevant to Iraqis. It is either more radical Islam, bent on destruction and on self-destruction (as people cannot live when their God has fallen), or it could be a brand of Islam that promises the arrival of modernity and thus sees the benefits of the American involvement in Iraq.
What is lacking in Iraq is a modern, socially conscious, Islamic clergy, and we need to actively train and promote such people. Muslim religion should not be kidnapped by the reactionaries: it should be taken back from them and modernized.
In the US, there are millions of psychiatrists and social workers to deal with such “troubles” as consequences of divorce or addiction to shopping. In Iraq, when a bomb smashes your family to bits no explanation is offered as to why this sacrifice could be worthwhile. A human being cannot live a day without a comprehensive conception of the world, but the US military planners forgot that and left the Iraqis to their own devices to make sense of their collapsing world. When we do not give (or have) a good explanation, our enemies will always fill the void with their version of events. We allowed our enemies to offer their take on the events and did not challenge or dispute it.
Having misjudged aspirations and traditions of the Iraqis, American military planners failed to prove to them that the Iraqi military defeat opened a true window of opportunity for the Iraqi people. Instead of helping the Iraqis to make an appropriate existential transition, we were creating strong and determined enemies for ourselves.
Americans are taking casualties in Iraq because they fight not for the Iraqis, but for the unrealistic American conception of what the Iraqis should be. We find ourselves fighting for the ideology that denies history, time, and tradition, the ideology that assumes that everybody reads The New York Times.
If we fight for our ideology while Iraqis fight for who they are, their fight is justified while ours is not. What we need is to understand and accept the Iraqis, so that, together with them, we can fight for the realistic model of better Iraq. In that case, our fight would be justified. If a coach believes that a weightlifter can lift 200 lbs, this coach inspires and leads to better results. If a coach forces a weightlifter under 1000 lbs of weight, this is not a coach but a murderer.
Levels of control
An individual can be controlled:
- In terms of identification and personal information
- In terms of location and movement
- In terms of time (i.e. where a person should be at what time)
- Degree of institutionalization (free, conditionally free, an inmate)
- On the job
- At home
- By a community
- By family ties
A society can be controlled
- Through communities
- Through families
- Ideologically, i.e. by setting the agenda
A country can be controlled
- By separating it into parts
- By controlling the borders
- By controlling traffic
- By controlling the flow of goods to a particular part
As we shall see, the plan will incorporate all those forms of control.
Iraqi citizens should be free and prosperous, but it is not so now. To achieve this goal, and only for this reason, there should be a law on Security Rating. It is not to restrict freedoms but to grant freedoms, to enable people to be free. And most of all, it is to protect lives.
Security Rating is a scale from minus five to plus five, so that it can be high (active participation in building of new Iraq), neutral (a law abiding citizen) or negative. The Security Rating is what determines the rights that an Iraqi citizen has. A person with the high Security Rating would qualify for a business loan, a home improvement loan, a mortgage, can occupy a responsible position, can travel all over Iraq and abroad. A person with a low Security Rating cannot have any of that. Moreover, Iraqi Criminal Justice System should be heavily influenced by a person’s Security Rating. But the economic rights of all citizens are the same and equally protected. Security Rating is reviewed continuously, based on a computerized compilation of all relevant reports.
What is Security Rating? It is not when one’s economic well-being depends on one’s inaction (i.e. one chooses not to oppose the regime): it is when one’s economic well-being depends on one’s active political in social stance in support of the regime so that it is you (!) that the opponents of regime are afraid of. Personally, in your own thoughts, you can be an opponent of the regime – it does not really matter. What matters is that opponents of the regime believe your public stance, that of the determined supporter of the regime, and thus fear you. It is not the battle for “hearts and minds”, even though it is important: it is a battle for appearances, for correct social stance. And when you are forced to act in a certain way, your mind will adjust and find a way to justify your actions. If an opponent of the regime is able to share his thoughts with his mother, we are not succeeding, but if he cannot – we won.
Iraqi Permit and Iraqi Pass – the key reform
Each Iraqi aged 14 and over is to be issued an Iraqi Permit. Iraqi Permit is a document that every Iraq must have, and without which one is automatically illegal. An Iraqi Permit has a picture, full name, a thumbprint, and a personal number. But when any of these data is introduced into the police hand-held computer, a wealth of information comes up: his Security Rating, the county of permanent residence, full address, Community Number, Family Identifier and where this person is supposed to be at what time.
In order to get an Iraqi Permit, an Iraqi must be a member of a Community, and that means that a Community must be created. After that, on recommendation of a Community Chief, one sits in for a serious Social Studies Exam, passes it, and gets his Iraqi Permit in a formal atmosphere, having publicly and solemnly recited the Iraqi Pledge. An Iraqi Permit is good for a calendar year, after which there is a police review that (one must hope) ends by issuing a new Iraqi Permit. It means that all Iraqi adults are on probation, and that, at best, they face the Parole Board once a year. And this is not a formality: their behavior is discussed in detail, before they are issued a new Iraqi Permit. Now, this is not an atmosphere that is conducive to running around with guns.
With all that, Iraqi Permit is a probationary and restrictive document. Only when one has established a high Security Rating, does one get an Iraqi Pass – a full rights Iraqi document. Iraqi Permit puts its holder in a very distinct economic and logistical disadvantage as compared with the holder of an Iraqi Pass. For example, travel, bank loans, positions of responsibility, travel abroad are all restricted. Yet, and this is the key, normal life and career are possible even with an Iraqi Permit.
Without an Iraqi Permit, life in Iraq should be impossible; with the Iraqi Permit, it should be normal, but restricted. With the Iraqi Pass, a citizen enjoys freedoms, has political rights, and enjoys certain other advantages.
Rights of a citizen are one and the same as responsibilities of the citizen. In America, we fought for our independence, for our freedom, and for every single right that we now enjoy. Take any right that we now have and go back in our history, and you will find people who lacked those rights, demanded them, fought for them, and often lost their lives for their sake. Indeed, the moment we forgot our responsibility to check what our government was telling us, the government immediately attempted to take our rights away from us. It took us 800 years, since Magna Carta of 1215, to get where we are now, as far as the rights are concerned. Iraqis have a different tradition. Why were they instantly allowed to form political parties? Why do they have the right to bear arms? Why do they have a universal right to vote? No wonder our attempt to introduce a one-faced coin is failing: there could be no one-faced coins. Each Iraqi individual must be made to earn their rights. It could be an accelerated process, a process of getting the Iraqi Permit and then gaining the Iraqi Pass – but still there should be such a process.
After an initial grace period during which every Iraqi is supposed to get a Permit, a person without an Iraqi Permit would go straight into a POW-style camp and would sit there (for no less than a week), enjoying all the rights accorded to POWs by the Geneva Convention, until he expresses a fervent wish to get an Iraqi Permit and proves that he deserves one (and a Security rating of Minus Two).
Legally, a holder of an old Iraqi Passport, but no Iraqi Permit is recognized as an Iraqi citizen, but one that broke the law introducing an Iraqi Pass and the Iraqi Permit. A holder of an Iraqi Permit is recognized as an Iraqi citizen, but one whose rights are restricted under Curfew Provisions. A holder of an Iraqi Pass is recognized as an Iraqi citizen for whom some restrictions stemming from the Curfew Provisions have been relaxed. An Iraqi citizen must have a Pass or a Permit on his person in all times. Former Iraqi Passport should be declared invalid.
Foreigners can be in Iraq only if they have a valid Iraqi visa and are appropriately registered with the police at a certain address. If they are caught without a visa, or outside of their permitted area, they are certainly not expelled until they serve out their sentence.
Getting an Iraqi Pass should be an important and festive occasion. There should also be a personalized message from the President of Iraq and from the Provincial Governor.
How to stop Iraqi violence in two months
- Give the Iraqi Permit, across the sectarian lines, irrespective of any prior record, to 66% of Iraqi population.
- Do not give the Iraqi Permit, across the sectarian lines, irrespective of any prior record, to 34% of Iraqi population.
- Make the lives of those without Iraqi Permit an absolute logistical hell.
Now, here is what happens. Mohamed yesterday was a terrorist, but now he has the Iraqi Permit, and thus lives much better than Ahmed, who has not got a Permit. Now Mohamed is a Privileged Iraqi Boy, thanks to Americans. Suddenly, he does not feel like fighting, and he also is afraid of Ahmed who hates him because of the Iraqi Permit.