I believe that finding a solution to the horrible fiasco of the Iraq War that is the product of a failed and perverse policy in the region is certainly within our reach. The solution, however, requires taking certain steps that would undoubtedly meet with severe and acrimonious opposition coming from those fanatical neo-conservative forces that have in large part been responsible for the policy in the first place.
The premises of this approach are that unfounded and illegal aggression is no solution to the problems that currently face the world community and that any resolution that is crafted must adhere to basic moral and ethical principles. Any attempt to simply withdraw militarily within the current chaotic environment would be unconscionable and morally detestable.
From this perspective, the solution would involve the following steps:
An admission of guilt as to the wrongness of our actions
An openly public apology to the peoples of Iraq and the region who have suffered so grievously as a direct result of our actions
A call to meet with all the factions of Iraqi society including those that are actively fighting against the occupation
In the context of these conversations, the following unilateral actions must be guaranteed:
The steady and deliberate withdrawal of all US combatant forces from Iraq according to an agreed upon timetable
The dismantling of all American military installations in the country
The withdrawal of all interest in exacting control of any kind over Iraq’s natural resources, especially oil
The payment of reparations for the infrastructure destroyed as a direct result of American military intervention since the beginning of the First Gulf War. These payments can take the form of helping to rebuild this infrastructure
The cessation of all meddling in Iraq’s internal affairs.
In the light of these concessions, the US government could then urge all parties to the conflict to find common ground and fashion a society in which the legitimate aspirations of all Iraqis, regardless of religious affiliation, would be held in high regard. Along with this, the Iraqi government should be encouraged to redraft their constitution to reflect purely Iraqi interests and eviscerate all aspects of the current document that were included to address the economic and political interests of the occupier.
Once these assurances are given and there implementation proceeds on schedule, the moral force of the resistance would, by necessity, fall from its own weight, and the level of violence would necessarily subside.
Such actions could not guarantee the cessation of all violence in Iraq, but it would help defuse the forces that lead to chaos and instability, since it would effectively disavow any colonial interests that have prompted the war in the first place. More importantly, this kind of transparent, honest and ethical diplomacy would serve as an important model for governments throughout the world: providing a non-violent path for the solution of international grievances in a world weary of war and needless destruction.