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THE IRAQ GAME PLAN: John Kerry vs G. W. Bush - Play by Play

Compiled by Cheryl Seal

We are appalled by the spin we keep hearing from the Bush campaign and its media minions on John Kerry's plan for Iraq. Because Bush has no viable plan (the plan he gives out is a sham), he is determined that the public not be allowed to know what Kerry's proposals really are. So we hear the media claiming that they have "never heard a plan" from Kerry, when he has, over and over, reiterated a detailed plan. We hear Bushies claim Kerry has "flipflopped" on a plan when, in fact, Kerry's plan has not varied at all, except to adjust for new crises created in Iraq by Bush. Even search engines have been manipulated to make it all but impossible to find any info on Kerry's plan. Now, as the Bush campaign's last-ditch spin to deflect the impact of the debates, we hear that Kerry's plan is actually "just like Bush's plan." (Of course, if Bush's plan now starts to actually sound like Kerry's plan, it is because the White House has systematically ripped it off. No wonder they didn't want the public to see the original!)

Here is an outline of Kerry's Iraq plan and how it differs by about a thousand light years from what Bush is doing.

(btw- Now that we have posted it, we will be keeping track of how many items Bush steals or claims he's "already doing"!)

Controlling the Insurgency:

BUSH: Uses unrelenting force, bombings, and strong-arm tactics that inflict heavy casualties and property damage, inflame rage and promote terrorism. Uses Iraqis as "token" foot soldiers under the command of American military personnel, with no real responsibility or clear "job description." These foot soldiers, ill-equipped, poorly trained, and under the thumb of US personnel, then become targets for insurgent attacks. Adding to the problem, Bush does not allow Iraqis to make decisions about managing situations involving Iraqis. Under the Bush plan, Iraqi "police" are not truly police - they are low-level laborers under the control of the US military. With no real authority, it is no wonder they have proven ineffectual and are considered completely expendable by the US. Because the police have become targets, only the most desperate men in Iraq are applying for the job.

KERRY: Expand the REAL, not token, use of Iraqis in every aspect of running Iraq, from policing to national government, in positions of responsibility and REAL authority, esp. on the local level. With Iraqis in control of their own country, the insurgency which is an Anti-American rebellion, no matter HOW the media and White House spins it, will be reduced to scattered outbreaks of in-fighting. Spend the money needed to fully train and equip Iraqi soldiers and police and hand over to them the real authority (i.e., make it plain they are working for their communities, not the US government) and the power to make decisions. Such people will have the respect of Iraqis and will not be such targets for violence. The US military will then act as advisors and back up to the Iraqi police and military, the role they were SUPPOSED to play. No longer seen as "oppressors" trying to run everything, US soldiers will cease to be such targets.

Expanding the UN's Role:

BUSH: Invites the UN to become involved in improving the situation in Iraq - then at the same time insists that it can only be involved in a powerless non-decision-making capacity with no real authority, under the US military's government's thumb.

KERRY: Will invite the UN to become involved, but will give it the power to make determinations as to how the situation in Iraq can be improved. Instead of forcing the UN under the thumb of a puppet military government, Kerry will use the US military and US influence with the Iraq goverment to back up the UN''s authority to take constructive, direct actions.

Involving Other Nations

BUSH: Says he wants other nations to participate in the reconstruction of Iraq - then does not allow them to obtain any contracts that would make it logically worth their while.

KERRY: Will open the reconstruction process fully to other nations, especially our soured allies, thereby making it far more attractive for them to send money and personnel to the country. In addition, as soon as Bush is out of the White House, allies will be much more willing to help the US because they no longer trust Bush.

How Long it Will Take to Finish the Job

BUSH: Will stay in Iraq as long as needed to "finish the job." But the "job," due to the above problems with Bush's plan, is an endless, downward spiraling task.. Some of Bush's own military experts now say the "job" may stretch on for over a decade, with a growing casulaty count. Part of the problem is Bush's determination to forcibly "democratize" and "Christianize" the country. This crusade, which is against American principles, not to mention probably impossible, may be what realy underlies Bush's refusal to restore autonomy to Iraqis, even at the local level.

KERRY: Will stay in Iraq as long as needed to "finish the job." But by truly enfranchising the Iraqi people, stopping the endless bombings, and involving other nations and the UN in a MEANINGFUL, CONSTRUCTIVE way, the "job" will be a much shorter, much less dangerous one. When Kerry pledged that troops would begin to be rotated home by Spring, he was, in essence, pledging two things: 1. To begin immediately to take the burden of running Iraq off the shoulders of our military and 2. To relieve soldiers forced by Bush's "backdoor draft" to remain in the war zone way beyond their initial tours. There are over 20 million Iraqis - most just want to get back on with their lives. The people in each community know what's best for their communities and are perfectly willing to take back control of policing and governing - IF ALLOWED.

Picking the Best People for the Job on the Ground

BUSH: Loyalty to the White House is the number one criteria for who in the US military gets picked to command what in Iraq. As a result, the worst possible people have the most authority in many cases in Iraq: rightwing, anti-Muslim bigots who believe every problem can be solved by escalating the force. As a result, actions by the US military on the ground ordered by incompetent and violent commanders have dramatically worsened the plight of both Iraqis and US soldiers.

KERRY: Having been a soldier and officer in a REAL WAR SITUATION, Kerry's military would award commands based on MERIT, not ideology. Kerry, unlike Bush, will be more concerned with officer's loyalties to their soldiers and their ability to win hearts and minds than to their political identities.

Troop Strength

BUSH: Tries to make it look as if he isn't needing more troops by keeping the same soldiers trapped in the war zone for endless extensions of their tours. Tries to make it look as if the war isn't really that expensive by stinting soldiers on protective gear, pay, and benefits.

KERRY: Will be up front about the need to increase troop strength in Iraq. By doing so, he will immediately be able to rotate Reservists home with

Iraqi Government

BUSH: Says US is helping Iraqi begin a "free and independent" government, but has, from Day One, put hand-picked "puppets" into place, from Chalabi to Allawi (a former CIA collaborator distrusted by the majority of Iraqis).The Iraqi constitution was all but dictated by the White House, while many people in the interim government hadn't set foot in Iraq in decades! Meanwhile, it was recently proven that the White House was attempting to rig the Iraq election process using CIA-engineered propaganda and other tactics. At the local level, the US military has either not allowed Iraqis to run their own communities, or have appointed incompetent or greatly disliked leaders the Iraqis themselves would never have chosen.

KERRY: To try to undo the damage that Bush has done, Kerry would allow the UN to determine how best to go about setting up an honest free election process. If this would require delaying elections, then so be it. Better an honest, safe process than a rigged process that increases violence and chaos simply to provide a pre-US election sound byte. Kerry would allow Iraqis on the local level to immediately begin reclaiming control of their communities.

The Biggest Difference of All

The biggest difference between Kerry in charge of Iraq and Bush in charge of Iraq is TRUST. Once trust is lost, it cannot easily be rewon - that is human nature, purely and simply. Bush has lost the trust of Iraqis (not that he had much to begin with after his illegal invasion!), of our allies, of a growing percentage of our troops. Distrust is not listed as an ingredient in any recipe for success.

Kerry is a man of his word, a man of integrity - one who has shown he has the guts to stand up and speak truth to power. And, more to the point, he will speak the truth - period.