The Network of Spiritual Progressives is proposing an “ethical way to end the Iraq war” and is now launching a major print campaign. The proposal is presented in three parts: 1) recognizing that the Iraq war is wrong and that presidential repentance is necessary; 2) calling upon the Arab league to replace U.S and British forces; and 3) rebuilding Iraq, launching a global “Marshall Plan,” and recognizing that generosity beats domination as a strategy for homeland security.
I disagree with the first part of the proposal calling upon President Bush to repent before the U.N. I believe that impeachment for lying to Congress will provide the proper measure of justice for now -- unless he is later indicted for war crimes, of course. If we allow Bush to get away with impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors and for the mass murder of tens of thousands or people, then why should anyone obey the laws of society? And what message is the Bush administration sending to kids when it refuses to sit down and talk with adversaries face-to-face? That it is OK, perhaps, to simply walk up and slap someone upside the head without provocation?
I mostly agree with the second and third parts of the proposal. Iraq should be turned over to the Arab League so U.S. and British forces can leave Iraq. “Fellow Arabs know the language, understand the culture, and especially the religion of the people of Iraq far better than do our own soldiers,” the proposal states. U.S forces are “perceived as modern-day imitators of the crusaders who once devastated Muslim countries.” The proposal wants U.S. and British forces to withdraw as Arab forces take their place. This could be a long process and I would prefer that the withdrawal be immediate, complete, and unconditional, but I could compromise on this point if a cease-fire could be achieved first.
Part three of the proposal calls for rebuilding Iraq and creating a global “Marshall Plan.” The new plan should “commit 1% of the Gross Domestic Product of the U.S. each year for the next 20 years toward the goal of eliminating global (and domestic) poverty, homelessness, inadequate health care, inadequate education, and for repairing the environment.” This approach, the proposal states, could have a secondary benefit in that a policy of generosity would replace the policy of domination and control and would eventually rebuild “respect and trust in the U.S.,” which is vital to homeland security.
Although I personally do not agree with the wording of the proposal, I would endorse it because this is the kind of common sense approach that we should be discussing instead of letting the powers that be and the mass media control the terms of the debate and ignore citizen action and input. Among the original signers of the proposal are Rabbi Michael Lerner, Howard Zinn, Rev. Tony Campolo, Sister Joan Chittister, Donald Gelphi, S. J. , the Revs. John and Susan Gregory-Davis, Rabbi Stephen B. Jacobs, and Marshall Berman.