There’s a lot of discussion about the Iraq war, and the White House has succesfully framed the debate into two camps: finish the mission (whatever that is), and immediate pull-out. I’ve hear a smattering of better thought-out plans, but I just wanted to add mine to that list.
The first step is to acknowledge that we made a big mess out of Iraq. We can’t just pull out because we now have a responsibility to clean up that mess. We’re spending about \$132 billion per year on this war. Instead of using that money to do what we think is best, let’s give it to the Iraqi government. If they want to use that money to pay for the US military to continue their operations in Iraq that is fine. If they want to just give that money directly to their citizens (almost \$5000 per person, which is more than Iraq’s per-capita GDP) that is also fine. I imagine the real use of that money will be more creative and more effective than either of those 2 possibilities. So next year we pay Iraq \$132 billion, and I propose that every year thereafter we pay them \$13.2 billion less than the previous year. In 10 years our obligations to Iraq end, and the government there will finally have the resources to address the issues they are facing.