Time to admit we need world’s help

Former Chico resident Michael J. McCarthy is a writer and activist for social reform who now lives in Colorado Springs.

The next president can undo the Iraq war crisis. The why is simple, and so is the how.

Why? U.S. military casualties have now exceeded 3,000 dead and 30,000 wounded. The war in Iraq has turned into a quagmire. The troops have become the targets of criminals and terrorists who are flowing into Iraq for the chance to kill Americans. The cost of the occupation keeps rising, and there is no end in sight.

We can’t continue the damage we are causing and cannot begin repairing it until we withdraw our occupying army.

How? We must work through the United Nations.

The next president must allow the U.N. to facilitate the creation of a democratic government that will be acceptable to the Iraqi people. No government created by the United States will be. It is better that we recognize this now than after the next 3,000 deaths.

Staying the course will do damage to American security. The demands of an occupation are overstretching our armed forces, and the extended deployment of reserve forces makes us vulnerable at home. The reserve call-ups include large numbers of firemen, policemen and other first responders who are needed for hometown security.

This plan would bring our troops home within 90 days of U.N. approval and strengthen U.S. security:

1. The U.N. would manage Iraq’s oil assets until the Iraqi people are self-governing.

2. The U.N. would handle all contracts, which must be awarded under transparent conditions. (No more Halliburton sweetheart deals.)

3. The U.S. would renounce any plans to privatize Iraq. The Iraqi people alone must determine the future of their country’s resources.

4. The U.N. would handle the transition to Iraqi self-governance.

5. The U.S. would pay reparations to the families of innocent Iraqi civilians killed and injured in the conflict.

6. The U.S. would contribute financially to the U.N. peacekeeping mission.

7. The U.N., through its member nations, would commit 150,000 peacekeepers to rotate into Iraq on a temporary basis. And all U.S. troops would come home.

8. The U.S. would abandon policies of “pre-emption” and unilateralism and commit to strengthening the U.N.

The next president should go to the U.N. and announce America’s intention to abide by this plan if approved.

We have a choice in front of us: Either we change course, withdraw our troops and request that the U.N. move in; or we sink deeper into this occupation, with more U.S. casualties, ever higher financial costs and diminished security for all Americans.