Friday, November 10, 2006

Two Cents on Iraq

This blog concerns itself mostly with Tennessee Politics, but Iraq policy currently dominates politics nationally, so I offer the following observation:

The phased withdrawal plans that are beginning to float around offer the potential for bi-partisan consensus when one considers the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Welfare Reform). Democrats and Republicans were finally able to come together for that bill once Democrats embraced a portion of the conservative critique of welfare dependency. Welfare (government assistance), Republicans had argued, undermined the opportunity for recipients to work because they were shielded from assuming personal responsibility. The longer the government provided assistance, the worse the situation was said to be for those receiving welfare. A strict time limit on the lifetime receipt of welfare assistance was imposed in conjunction with specific requirements (once called workfare) that recipients also pursue job training or actual jobs to qualify for aid.

So, how about following that same logic in Iraq. If the problem is that Iraqi soldiers and government personnel have become overly dependent on US forces to provide security, then indefinite assistance or increases in US troop support may breed their dependency on US forces. If so, then according to the logic of welfare reform, continuing indefinite assistance must be damaging the Iraqi government's opportunity to provide their own security by shielding it from assuming personal responsibility. So, a phased withdrawal with strict time limits ought to reverse the situation by forcing the Iraqi government to provide its own security, especially if further US aid, even under the strict time limits, is conditioned on their successfully providing that security for themselves.

Why, then can't the Iraqi Security Opportunity and Governmental Responsibility Reconciliation Act of 2007 achieve support from the GOP?

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