I just heard on TV a semi-famous TV reporter say without hesitation or qualification that the Iraq war was an absolute mistake. All I can say is, “What an ASS!”

Let me be perfectly clear, the result of the Iraq war is still very and highly unclear, and for this TV reporter to pass judgment is not only premature, it typifies the short-term nature of people’s thinking. Granted, I’m no expert on the Iraq war, but it should be obvious to everyone that certain outcomes were achieved: 1) A very dangerous and highly aggressive dictator was taken out in the Middle-East, 2) democracy was introduced into a country that never experienced it before, 3) mostly fair and untainted elections have been held multiple times, 4) women have been given far more rights and freedoms, and 5) it’s economy has been transformed into a capitalist economy, among other successes. On the other hand, the war on Iraq wasn’t that related to 9/11, there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Kurdish discontent and rebellion is rife with danger, there’s still insurgent activity in Iraq, many thousands of people died, including US military personnel, and terrorists have a field day with propaganda supplied by what’s happened in Iraq, including accusing the US of invading Iraq for the oil.

Obviously, for now, and to us, the negatives far outweigh the positive achievements in Iraq. Moreover, the positives really have not been that impactful in the daily lives of Iraqis, at least it doesn’t appear to be so from our perspective, or the liberal press is blocking such news from reaching us. Regardless, the benefits don’t seem to justify the costs. And, up to this point, I can’t argue rationally otherwise. However, look how far Iraq has come, and I believe that they have much more to achieve.

Don’t forget that our country started out greatly fractured and suspicious of each other, which is why the Constitution made — or tried to make — the Federal government as weak as possible. So, the fact that the Iraqis can’t seem to be harmonious among its own populous — Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, among others — shouldn’t be and isn’t surprising. However, they are off to a fairly good start, given that they already have a constitution, held free elections and, at least for now, are still talking amongst each other.

Regardless, imagine the follow occurring in Iraq. Despite the rough start, let’s say that the Kurds, and the rest of Iraq come to an understanding about governance and oil revenue. Then, due to this agreement, the economy in Iraq starts to accelerate and this increases the wealth of the nation and its citizens. Then, due to the new found prosperity, sectarian violence decreases and all but disappears, providing more security for Iraqis, which in turn helps the economy flourish even more. Is this an impossible scenario? Of course not. In fact, it’s quite likely.

If I were “planning” Iraq’s economy, I’d look to make an agreement between the Kurds and the rest of Iraq, where by the Kurds remain a part of Iraq, but has a separate government that conducts “domestic” policy, much like US states have their own government. However, foreign policy and military matters will remain in the hands of the central government, and the Kurdish people will be part of the foreign policy team and the military. However, the Kurds will be allowed to maintain a militia, replete with its own arsenal, armored vehicles, helicopters and planes, but no navy, special forces and bombers. I would also require UN observers in Kurdish territories for 50 years to make sure that there are no independence movements that may lead to the dissolution of the country.

As for economic matters, I would look to forge an agreement between the Kurds, who have most of the oil reserves of Iraq and the rest of the country. First, I would look to make sure that all oil reserves would be owned by public Kurdish companies, but other Iraqis citizens would be allowed to own less than a controlling interest in the Kurdish oil companies, but not directly in any oil reserves that reside in Kurdish territory. Then, I would look to forge an agreement where by the Kurdish oil companies sell all of their oil to Iraqi oil refining, trading and shipping companies. The refiners will be sold oil at a 10% discount to global prices, and the refiners will be required to sell back all the product the Kurds require at a 10% discount as well. Trading companies will make a 5% margin on all oil sold from Kurdish territory, and only 5%, no more, but certainly less would be allowed. Shipping companies would receive the same rates that they charge other shippers and the oil pipelines emanating from Kurdish territory will be owned by the Kurdish oil companies. All rights, easement, and right of ways necessary for the oil pipelines to be built must be granted to the Kurdish oil companies without unnecessary encumbrances or delay. Kurdish companies will not be allowed to own a controlling interest in refiners or trading or shipping companies, but all product distribution will be allowed free competition.

Now, going back to the Iraqi situation and how it relates to the future of the Middle-east: What would be the impact of economic prosperity and burgeoning democracy in Iraq? Specifically, what effect, if any, would this have on the rest of the Middle-east? No one knows for sure, but my guess is that this would have a profound effect on the rest of the Middle-east. The effect on Iran, in particular, would be highly profound, and it could change the course of history in the Middle-east. Then, this could set the stage for long-term global peace and prosperity.

If some of you are wondering if such a scenario would be possible, I will note two things: 1) The US is the only superpower in history where a superpower invaded a country and not only left it better than the superpower found it, but also helped those countries to prosper, e.g., Germany, Japan, South Korea, and 2) all three countries went from utter ruin to achieve economic greatness: Japan is the third largest economy in the world, Germany is the fourth largest and South Korea is the 12th.

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