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What should the US do in Iraq?

The Bush forces are discovering that winning the peace in Iraq is more difficult than winning the war. It is expensive and dangerous, and most other countries show little interest in contributing either money or troops. That's natural--why should they contribute to maintaining a Bush occupation designed to enrich Bush and his businessmen friends? Iraqis increasingly express their opposition to the occupation by killing the occupying troops, who therefore behave in ways that don't do anything to make friends among the populace, or maintain security, or get things working again. As a result, US generals are now suggesting that the US army is overstretched, unable to meet its obligations, and needs to be made larger. Great for Bush's friends who own arms manufacturers, but not for US taxpayers.

What is the way out?

It's simple. Let the UN take over Iraq--really take over, not just ask it to assist in maintaining the Bush occupation.

Giving control of the occupation and reconstruction to the UN will convince more countries to join in paying for reconstruction and in sending troops to establish security in Iraq. The Bush forces can then go home and return to being the US Army. It will also win the trust of Iraqis, who will believe this is a plan to give them a good government rather than a plan to steal their oil. Iraqis will believe they can expect real democracy, rather than what Bush calls democracy. That will mean less resistance by Iraqis, and more cooperation.

The US had better do this soon, or it faces the long-term danger that Iraq will become a magnet and inspiration for increased terrorism, with the US as target number one.

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--Richard Stallman, © 2003