POST-WAR IRAQ, WHAT'S THE GOAL?: Following up on my last post (here in the lab at UCLA, in between classes), I can see a few important things that the US needs to accomplish with our handling of Iraq once the fighting has cooled.
1. Improve the quality of life for ordinary Iraqis as quickly as possible. This is important because people with jobs, homes, running water, etc. will have little incentive to act up. It's important that the Iraqi people realize that their lot in life has just improved dramatically. They won't have to live in fear of Saddam's henchmen, and there will be real freedom. This will buy us time and influence to allow us to take care of some other business, and it will also build American credibility among the "Arab street" that's always calling for our blood.
2. Punish France and Germany (and Turkey). There must be serious consequences for betraying the US, and we have to make sure that our [diplomatic] adversaries reap the whirlwind that they have sown. Block France and Germany (and Belgium, to the extent that they matter) from every economic program we set up in Iraq, especially as it relates to oil. Russia should get a slap on the wrist as well, but in my mind they have offended us less, and they have more to offer us in the future. France and Germany should suffer economically for crossing us, and it should be obvious to their populations that their suffering is a direct result of opposing the United States.
3. Establish permanent military bases in Iraq, such as was done in Germany and Japan after WW2. We need large and unrestricted military power in the region if we intend to intimidate the rest of the Arab world and force them into the 21st century, and we need to take advantage of our presence in Iraq to get a foothold. This is one of the most important reasons why the UN must not be allowed to take over "peacekeeping" without US/UK supervision. The "peacekeeping" cover/excuse will be nice to have as justification for keeping our forces embedded in the country.
4. Once the above three goals are being met, we will have gained significant ground in the War on Terror. Don't forget, Iraq is just a battle within a larger conflict. Military control over Iraqi territory and oil will allow us to force the Saudis' hand, and will give encouragement to the people of Iran in their low-level revolution. Once those two bastions of oppression and traditionalism fall the forces of Islamofascist terror will fade into background noise.