GINGRICH AND GIULIANI: IRAQ IS JUST BROOKLYN WITH IED'S
Newt and Rudy have a joint op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal titled "Getting Iraq to Work" (and subtitled "New York City's successes have lessons for Baghdad").
Now, we keep assuming that they broke the mold after they made Dubya and we won't have to suffer through his brand of snarly naivete after 1/20/09, but these two Oval Office aspirants seem to have the snarl and -- especially -- the naivete down cold, so it could be (God help us) a seamless transition:
...The week before Christmas, the Pentagon asked Congress to approve a supplemental $100 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, on top of the estimated $500 billion spent to date. The administration should direct a small percent of that amount to create an Iraqi Citizen Job Corps, along the lines of FDR's Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression. The Job Corps can operate under the supervision of our military and with its protection.
Yeah, because we have so many excess troops just sitting around in Iraq right now with nothing to do.
The Army Corps of Engineers might be particularly helpful in directing this effort. It will place our military in a constructive relationship with the Iraqis....
Yeah -- a "constructive relationship" called "being in the center of the bull's-eye."
Today, Iraq has almost 200 state-owned factories that have been abandoned by the governing authorities since the outbreak of war in 2003. Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Paul A. Brinkley ... believes that under Department of Defense leadership, at least 10 of these facilities could be re-opened almost immediately, putting more than 10,000 Iraqis to work within weeks....
But as The New York Times pointed out a couple of days ago, we've tried this, with less than smashing results:
The focus on jobs and reconstruction is in many ways a return to the earliest days of the occupation, when the top American administrator here, L. Paul Bremer III, pressed the idea that economic initiatives were as important as military action in stabilizing the country and convincing ordinary Iraqis that the invasion would have tangible benefits for them.
That philosophy led to a reconstruction program financed by $30 billion in American taxpayer money that had a marginal impact on the quality of life here, attracted ceaseless attacks on rebuilding projects and produced little but derision among Iraqis.
In addition, American officials ... have never produced evidence that those enormous expenditures have lessened the attractions of the insurgency.
Nor have those officials solved what appears to be a logical flaw in the plan: how does the United States get credit for reconstruction projects when it must keep its participation secret to prevent attacks on those projects?
But back to Newt and Rudy:
The entire effort ... should be open to all willing Iraqis--Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds--as a means of helping to create a common culture through shared participation in work projects to rebuild and take ownership of their nation.
Oh, yes -- the lion will lie down with the lamb. That's likely to happen, isn't it?
...After the program has been started and becomes successful, it can be transferred to a civilian authority within the Iraqi government.
I'm sure Moktada would be only too happy to help out.
The creation of an Iraqi Citizen Job Corps will help expedite the establishment of a more stable civil society and improve the growing Iraqi economy through the transforming power of an honest day's work.
And after that, we go after squeegee men and paintings with elephant dung on them.
UPDATE: Roy Edroso's take on this is much funnier than mine.