One of my hobbies is thinking up impractical solutions to world problems. Lately, my favorite problem is how to withdraw from Iraq without allowing a huge increase in civilian deaths. I have a solution. I call my plan the Ironic Peace by Stealing Oil Plan, or IPSOP.
The way this works is that the US informs the fledgling Iraqi government that we are going to withdraw from the population centers of Iraq, but we’re going to keep our military bases and take control of key Iraqi oil fields. The oil fields would be heavily guarded, of course, with wide perimeters.
Here’s the genius part. We ask the UN to form a commission to oversee the Iraqi government’s performance and the inevitable civil war. When that commission certifies that the Iraqis have worked out a solution for oil sharing, and power sharing, and when the civil war subsides, America agrees in advance to return the oil fields and phase out the military bases in five years. Until the UN certification comes, if it ever does, we just pump the Iraqi oil and use the revenue to help, for example, Palestinian children.
The beauty of this plan is that the Iraqis can choose to fight the civil war forever, or they can choose to get America out of their country. The longer the Iraqis kill each other, the more financial help the struggling Palestinians will get. Tragedy-wise, it’s a breakeven scenario. It’s morally neutral. And in the meantime, fewer Americans will die fighting in Iraq.
Would IPSOP work?
[Update: If insurgents attack the pipeline, they'd be attacking Palestinian interests. And we wouldn't need to protect all oil facilities, just whatever ones are easiest to control and protect.
As for funding Palestinians, I'm sure there's a way to limit the aid to something useful that can't get into the terrorists' hands. It could be shipments of medicine, for example. Obviously sending cash would be a bad idea. If funding Palestinians doesn't work for you, pick some starving Muslims in Africa.]