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February 23, 2007

Turning Iran

Today’s Downsizer-Dispatch . . .

Here’s where we stand with our case for leaving Iraq . . .

1. The costs we have incurred to date in Iraq may be as high as $2 trillion. We cannot afford more. To Downsize DC we must leave Iraq.
2. We lack the troops, or the savagery, to force the Iraqi factions to stop fighting.
3. None of the Iraqi factions are likely to “win” the civil war, so they will have to reach a settlement.
4. The Iraqi factions do not trust us, and so we cannot serve to broker this settlement.

If we cannot broker a settlement between the Iraqi factions, who can?

When we leave Iraq the dynamics of the situation will change. As long as we remain in Iraq, the other neighboring Muslim states, and especially Iran, have an incentive to stand back and watch us twist in the wind, but when we leave the incentives will reverse, dramatically.

There are three factors that will incentivize Iraq’s neighbors to try and broker a settlement there . . .

* Refugees
* Terrorism
* The Kurds

None of Iraq’s neighbors can stand the economic burden of the refugees that will flood across their borders as a result of a prolonged civil war in Iraq. Iran, in particular, is teetering economically — so much so that they have started rationing gasoline!

Iraq’s neighbors also fear that Iraq will become a base for terrorist groups aimed at them. It is important to recognize that the ultimate objective of the Islamist terrorists is to overthrow U.S. backed regimes in Muslim countries throughout the Middle East. Iraq’s neighbors have an incentive to prevent Iraq from becoming a base for terrorist operations aimed at them.

We are not the only ones with a terrorist problem. The Muslim regimes share this problem, and we will incentivize them to confront this problem by leaving Iraq.

Finally, there is the problem of the Kurds. One likely outcome of the civil war in Iraq is the birth of an independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq. This would place extreme pressure on most of Iraq’s neighbors.

There are more than 4-million Kurds in Iraq, more than 4.8-million in Iran, more than 12-million in Turkey, and more than 1-million in Syria. All of these nations fear a movement by the Kurds in their countries to join with the Kurds in Iraq.

The best way to prevent this, or at least control it, is for those nations with large Kurdish populations to help broker a settlement in Iraq. Iraq’s Muslim neighbors are far more likely to succeed in such an endeavor than Infidel America.

This is how we can turn Iran from a liability into an asset, by leaving Iraq.

All of these factors have been in play all along. They explain, for instance, why Iran has made repeated back-channel overtures to the Bush administration to improve relations between our countries. Iran has offered . . .

* Recognition for Israel,
* To help fight the Taliban in Afghanistan,
* And even to de-fund Hezbollah and Hamas.

Why has President Bush refused to even discuss these overtures with Iran?

Yes, he can point to the fact that Iran’s President is an evil madman, but the true power in Iran lies not with Iran’s president, but with the Mullahs (the Shia clerics). Reform-minded Mullahs are the ones making the back-channel overtures to the U.S.

Why can’t we take yes for an answer? Why don’t we talk to Iran? Why don’t we change the incentives for Iran by leaving Iraq?

Why does President Bush want to Upsize Government and increase the national debt even more, by attacking Iran, when we have an engraved invitation to negotiate with them, and maybe even make common cause?

The answer, we fear, may be that war is the health of the state. Government, and its clients, like Halliburton, profit from war. We are not making a conspiratorial argument here. Instead, we are saying that incentives work.

Government, and the special interests that serve government, have an incentive to prefer conflict, because they profit from it.

But what about you and your family? Do you thrive on crisis and war, or do you benefit from peace and stability? Do you want smaller government, or an ever-expanding warfare state?

We cannot Downsize DC without controlling the federal government’s inclination to foment international disorder. We cannot Downsize DC, or enhance the prospects for peace in Iraq, without ending the occupation. And we cannot compel Congress to take these steps without pressure from you.

Please send Congress a message urging them to de-authorize the occupation of Iraq.

And please consider making a contribution to Downsize DC to further our work. Contributions made yesterday reduced our need for February to $1,054. You can make a contribution to help cover the remaining balance here.

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.

Perry Willis
Communications Director
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

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