Nader: US Should Withdraw From Iraq
US Should Underwrite an Appropriate International Peacekeeping Force, Encourage Iraqi Self Rule and Continue Humanitarian Aid to Rebuild Iraq
Nader for President 2004
Monday April 19, 2004
Washington, DC:Today, Independent Presidential candidate Ralph Nader put forward a three-step approach to rapidly remove US military forces, civilian military contractors and US corporate interests from Iraq. "Every day the US military remains in Iraq we imperil US security, drain our economy, ignore our nation's domestic needs and prevent democratic self-rule from developing in Iraq, nor does the belligerent rhetoric of the Bush regime help the cause of moderates in Iraq." Nader said.
Nader made his statement amid calls by President Bush and Senator Kerry to "stay the course" despite increasing violence against US soldiers and US military contractors. "As has been demonstrated in recent weeks, US soldiers and civilians have become magnets for an expanding insurgency against US occupation of Iraq," Nader said. "The way to save US and Iraqi lives and reverse the escalating spiral of violence is for the United States to go back home. US presence serves as fuel for the insurrection, kidnapping, terrorism and anarchy. Since the occupation is increasingly turning mainstream Iraqis against the US; announcing a withdrawal and ending the corporate takeover of the Iraqi economy and oil resources will attract their support away from the insurgents."
Nader put forward a three-step process for removal of US troops.
- Development of an appropriate international peace-keeping force: Under the auspices of the United Nations an international peace keeping force, from neutral nations with such experience and from Islamic countries, should be assembled immediately to replace all US troops and civilian military contractors doing many jobs the Army used to do more efficiently. "Former General Wesley Clark described the Bush administration's foreign policy as 'cowboy unilateralism that goes against everything the United States is supposed to represent to the world,' noted Nader. "It is time for the US to return to the family of nations. The US will have to underwrite a significant portion of this less expensive short-term peacekeeping force since it was George W. Bush's illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq that has led to this quagmire."
- Support Iraqi self rule and free and fair elections: Free and fair elections should be held as soon as possible under international supervision so democratic self-rule can be put in place in Iraq. This will allow Iraq to develop legitimate self-government that will be able to provide for its own security. Nader recognized: "It is a challenge to bring democracy to Iraq, a country controlled by a brutal dictator, devastated by economic sanctions and torn apart by war. The complicated culture of Iraq, the split between Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds makes consensus on a new government a challenge. A suitable framework of unity with allowance for reasonable autonomy would be a proper balance. But Iraq should be able to sort out these issues more easily without the military presence of a US occupying force and the projected 14 US military bases that Iraqis see as installing a puppet government fronting for an indefinite military and oil industry occupation."
- The US should provide humanitarian aid to Iraq to rebuild its infrastructure: The US invasion of Iraq and the long-term US-led economic sanctions against Iraqi civilians resulted in tremendous damage to people, their children and the Iraqi infrastructure. The US has a history of supporting Saddam Hussein. "Until the 1991 Gulf War, Saddam Hussein was our government's anti-communist ally in the Middle East. Washington also supported him to keep Iran at bay with his army. In so doing, during the 1980s under Reagan and the first George Bush, corporations were licensed by the Department of Commerce to export the materials for chemical and biological weapons that President George W. Bush later accused him of having," said Nader. "Therefore, the US has a responsibility to the Iraqi people so Iraq can become a functioning nation again. However, we should not allow US oil and other corporations to profit from the illegal invasion and occupation of their country." Control over Iraqi oil and other assets should be exercised by Iraqis.
Nader noted the caution of former General Wesley Clark, who said: "President Bush plays politics with national security. Cowboy talk. The administration is a threat to domestic liberty." Nader urged the public to "free itself from the national security fear campaign of the Bush Administration and support a humanitarian conclusion to the Iraq episode."
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