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Iraq and Afghanistan: How to Win the Peace
A letter you can send to your elected representatives

Dear ___ (name or your representative):

We have a very dangerous situation in Afghanistan and Iraq. And it's getting worse.

Unless we act more effectively and quickly, there is great risk of even greater chaos and suffering for these people. This already encourages terrorism and instability in the Middle East and around the globe. All Muslims - and the entire world - are watching.

To help protect our own security, we need to win a "war" for hearts and minds, increasing support for democracy and freedom over fanatical terrorism. We could lose this war - and face terrorism we hardly dare imagine.

Iraq and Afghanistan are vital examples for their neighboring countries. But building these devastated nations is a monumental task. And it will not work if only done halfway.

We need all the help we can get for:

  • Greatly increased, carefully monitored aid to help Iraq and Afghanistan prosper more quickly. Tens of billions of dollars more are needed - now. But our federal deficit was $248 billion for fiscal year 2006. 2007 could be a record-breaking $339 billion according to White House budget forecasts. There's no need for the United States to provide 95% of all aid and 90% of the troops - and suffer 90% of the casualties - as we now do in Iraq.
  • Sharing the costs of reconstruction with the United Nations, all the Western nations and the wealthy Arab oil states, supplying more troops to protect the Iraqis and Afghanis, and providing a large "army" of political, business, scientific, medical, educational and legal advisors. It's reasonable that the UN and other nations share some control over their cooperative involvement. All this teamwork will help show Muslims that the United States is not carving an empire in their lands.
  • Faster development of civil society from local communities to the national level, including their own police and army. We should employ more of the local people - and give them a significant, enduring stake - in an open society. We need more effective ways to prevent infiltration of the army and police forces by terrorists.
  • Cost effective promotion of small enterprises as shown by Grameen Bank and others.
  • Better protection of Iraqi and Afghani borders to keep terrorists from infiltrating.
  • Open, international competition for the lucrative construction contracts, so the work is done as quickly, effectively and inexpensively as possible. This will give our allies more incentive to participate in all that needs to be done.

We must demonstrate that we'll help Iraq and Afghanistan achieve full independence as quickly as possible. This will be hard to sustain if America "goes it alone" much longer.

The sooner we help to achieve democracy and prosperity, the sooner we can withdraw our troops. This will save many lives and the $1 billion a week that we pay for military occupation. Going slowly will cost us far more in the long run.

An Important Message
We urge President Bush to explain to our nation and the world why we must succeed and how shared costs are justified.

We also need much more effective communication to the Muslim world. These efforts should include extensive, meaningful, ongoing use of the media in Muslim countries and worldwide. We need to grant more interviews with our highest ranking government officials on Al Jazeera and other popular Arab-language cable networks.

We need to point out who really threatens the well being of Muslims everywhere. It is gross and very dangerous incompetence on our part that Osama bin-Laden and other terrorists are still growing in popularity while they praise Muslim-killers in Iraq, Sudan and elsewhere.

In our words and actions we can help convince people that:

  • We have specific, generously funded plans to help Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Terrorists hurt the people they want to rule. These totalitarian fanatics have demonstrated, both in and out of power, that they consistently act in repressive, destructive ways.
  • In contrast to totalitarianism, open, democratic societies are far better at ensuring freedom of conscience, protecting their citizens and the environment, and creating greater opportunities for prosperity and happiness.

The USA at its best is a beacon of brotherhood, freedom and democracy. We can do much better promoting this where we have the opportunity and the responsibility.

We need to resolve the dangerous situation in Iraq and Afghanistan before it gets even worse. Please let us know what you are doing to fully implement all of the above policies as quickly as possible.

Thank you.


[your name]

En español (pero necesita cambios)

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Letter by Bill Blackman and the volunteers of Hearts & Minds
Website © Copyright: 1997 - 2015 by Hearts and Minds Network, Inc.  http://www.heartsandminds.org/mideast/iraq.htm - online   August 19, 2003, latest changes December 18, 2006

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