Former senator George McGovern and William R. Polk, a leading authority on the Middle East, offer a detailed plan for a speedy troop withdrawal from Iraq.
During the phased withdrawal, to begin on December 31, 2006, and to be completed by June 30, 2007, they recommend that the Iraq government engage the temporary services of an international stabilization force to police the country. Other elements in the withdrawal plan include an independent accounting of American expenditures of Iraqi funds, reparations to Iraqi civilians for lives lost and property destroyed, immediate release of all prisoners of war, the closing of American detention centers, and offering to void all contracts for petroleum exploration, development, and marketing made during the American occupation.
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Simon & Schuster
October 03, 2006
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Excerpt from Out of Iraq by George McGovern
How Can Citizens Find Out
What They Need to Know?
"NEED TO KNOW" is a term used in the American government to segregate information. The person without a need to know a given piece of information is denied access to it; the person with the need to knowýin order to perform his dutiesýcan gain access. In order to perform our duties as citizens, we have the "need to know" what our government is doing in our names, as well as a reasonable amount of the information (or intelligence) upon which it has based its actions, and the results of those actions. We also have a legitimate need for the government to tell us honestly its best estimate of how much the implementation of its decisions will cost and what the chances of success or failure are. Most important of all, we have the right to be told the truth. But a survey by Public Agenda in January 2006 showed that half of the American public believe they were not told the truth about the Iraq invasion. Only when we have access to accurate information can we act as responsible citizens in a democratic society. As Thomas Jefferson warned, "If a nation expects to be ignorant and freeý it expects what never was and never will be." So this chapter will highlight what Americans have been told, what has been withheld from us, what we have been falsely told, and what we have now found out.
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The Iraq war has dominated television screens, newspaper headlines, and magazine articles virtually every day for the past three years. The profusion of government pronouncements, official dispatches, and images generated by photo opportunities is staggering. But the effect of this deluge of material has been less clarifying than confusing. Official proclamations have often been shortly followed by retractions; projections have been dramatically altered; and certainties quickly denied. The confusion began when neoconservatives Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Chairman of the Defense Policy Board Richard Perle told us the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center was the work of Saddam Hussein. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said the administration had "bulletproof" evidence that Saddam was working closely with al-Qaeda terrorists. The proof he offered, the "smoking gun," was that Saddam had an intelligence agent meet with al-Qaeda's representative in Prague. But the Czech Republic's then-president Výclav Havel warned President Bush that no such meeting had taken place; American intelligence confirmed his statement and found that the alleged terrorist agent was actually in America at the time; and the 9/11 Commission reported that there was no evidence for any link between al-Qaeda and Iraq. In fact, Saddam and Osama bin Laden were bitter enemies: in 1990 Osama had even offered to raise a Muslim force to drive the kafir (Arabic for "disbeliever") Saddam out of Kuwait. As much as we hated Saddam, Osama hated him even more. But President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney continued to assert that the two were in league. Understandably, Americans are confused and misinformed. Today public opinion polls show that about one in three still believes that Saddam was involved in the 9/11 attacks.