Almost two years ago a bold and courageous man stepped forward, and amongst the political maneuvering and jostling, presented an in-depth political solution for Iraq. Though an intense political whiplash was sure to follow, Joe Biden put policy before politics and called for a federalist system of government to be instituted in Iraq. For the past several months, Sen. Biden has championed his plan saying that the only way to end the cycle of self-sustaining sectarian violence is to separate the fighting sanctions and create three semi-autonomous regions. Each region, one for the Sunnis, on for the Shiites, and one for the Kurds, will be granted strong, local control. The people of the states will finally have control over the issues they have been killing one another over for the past 2,000 years. Biden believes that once local control is granted for issues such as marriage and divorce laws, police organizations and education the violence will subside. A limited central government will then be able to function with three main purposes: control the boarders, deal with foreign relations and spread the oil wealth fairly based on population. Just as expected, the criticism was harsh. Many oppose the plan, saying it simply will not work; federalism in this day in age is not right for Iraq. People argue: “We shouldn’t impose federalism on the Iraqis. They already have an elected government; just let it be. We have no right to force this on a nation’s people. No one supports the plan anyway. Biden is simply misguided.” It is not at all uncommon to here people say, “Sen. Biden’s plan is going nowhere. The Iraqis don’t support it, the American people don’t support it, and even Biden’s colleagues don’t support it. What is he thinking?” Though these points seem valid from afar, they become very hollow when examined more closely.
While a certain someone (George W. Bush) still refutes the capabilities of the Senator’s proposal, many other big names support the idea of federalism in Iraq. From big foot columnists, to United State Senators, and to even Iraqi leaders themselves, support has swelled for Joe Biden and his political solution for Iraq. At one time the argument that the Biden plan had no support could have been looked at as a decent point. Today it has turned into a bold face lie. Countless endorsements have been issued in just a short time.
Many top columnists and big names in the media business have come out to support Joe Biden’s political solution. George Packer has recently written an extensive post in “The New Yorker”, praising Biden heavily. He can be quoted as saying “Federalism is the most realistic political option available”, and “I’m glad that Biden is pushing his idea…it’s the only exception to paralysis and polarization in Washington.” Furthermore, Edward P. Johnson and Michael O’Hanlon wrote a piece in USA Today on Oct. 5th. Within the piece they note that, “Rather than continuing to place all our hope in Baghdad, it is time to do what Sen. Joseph Biden (DE) and a majority of his fellow senators have been pushing of late: build on that local progress by advising Iraqis to consider a form of federalism.” The praise continues with people like Michael Hirsh of Newsweek and Randy Scholfield of the Wichita Eagle. Hirsh has supported a federalist solution time and time again. On April 26th, 2007, Hirsh stated in an article of Newsweek that, “Joe Biden is dead right on Iraq.” Continuing, Hirsh had other kind words calling Biden himself, “…far and away the most experienced foreign-policy hand among the Democratic candidates…” People like Hirsh and Packer and O’Hanlon are just a few of the many big feet who are coming around to the conclusion that Biden is in fact “dead right”!
Amongst the growing support, a groundbreaking decision was made on September 28th, of this year. The United States Senate, for the first time since the war began, voted in a bipartisan fashion to rebuke the Bush Administration’s policy in Iraq and said a new track must be taken. By a vote of 75-23 the Senate voted to pass Joe Biden’s political solution in Iraq and by doing so said that George W. Bush is wrong and will be wrong if he follows the current strategy. Joe Biden was the first person, on either side, to bring both Democrats a Republicans together. With the help of 49 Democrats and 26 Republicans, Sen. Biden told the President to stop this ridiculous policy and move in the direction of federalism. Proponent of the plan, Sen. Barbara Boxer has said, “Our chairman has come forward with a vision of how this thing can end up in a place where people will stop killing each other, and yet keep together the country of Iraq, to do the things a country has to do.” Other current and former Congressional leaders agree. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), has supported federalism saying “Federalism is already at work…This will work.” Brownback feels so strongly about that he helped Biden make history once again as the two of them, Republican and Democrat, cruised the Presidential campaign trail together, both as candidates and held a forum to discuss and support federalism in Iraq. While the political atmosphere back home is important, the security of Iraq will ultimately come down the progress made in their government itself. Thankfully, a consensus may in fact be in the works.
The most important component of any political solution for any nation in any circumstance is the acceptance of the nation’s people. It is argued that America cannot force any proposal on Iraq. People say it is not America’s place to change the dynamics of the nation. Combatants of federalism say if the Iraqis and their leaders don’t support it we can’t act on it. Well, I agree whole-heartedly with them. We ought not force anything on anyone; the catch to that however, is that Iraq has come around to the idea of federalism. It has been adopted into their Constitution. Leaders of that nation support the idea. It has been endorsed by countless Iraqi leaders. To have a consensus in Iraq is perhaps the most monumental feat anyone could have accomplished and Sen. Biden did so with his political solution. President of Iraq, Jalal Talabani, has endorsed the plan saying, “I agree with Senator Biden. I think the resolution passed by the Senate is a very good one. Those who criticize it didn’t read it carefully. If read carefully, one finds that every article insists on the unity, security, prosperity and national reconciliation of Iraq.” He went on by asking “his brothers of Iraq” to work together to institute the plan and to live by it. Those who combat the plan have not only read it, but they clearly have not heard the Iraqis themselves speak! Another Iraqi politician, Ammar al-Hakim, Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council leader, has reiterated support for federalism recently by saying, “Federalism is one way to accomplish this [peace] goal.”
Though it is always great to have the kind words of columnists and the endorsements of Senators, the most lucrative of all backings comes from Iraq itself. As the nation embraces Senator Biden and his plan for peace, it will become easier and easier to act on his plan. People are supporting the plan. People are supporting Joe Biden. People understand that the only way to end this war responsibly, without it metastasizing in to a regional war, is to listen to the Senator and introduce federalism to Iraq. Joe Biden has the vision and foresight to lead this nation into a brighter future. He has the experience to hit the ground running in 2009. And above all else, he has the political will to introduce a tough piece of legislation to end an atrocity. Though not originally popular, Joe Biden has swayed Democrats and Republicans alike and convinced them, like any competent President could, that his path is the right path; federalism is the right path. Joe Biden is the right man for 2008!