Friday, September 07, 2007

An Iraqi Speaks Out


As promised several weeks ago, this is a guest post by an Iraqi-American woman who has family in Iraq.

Since the current Iraq situation is a complicated problem, it needs a complicated multi-avenue solutions. As complicated as this might be, it is as simple as this:

Just like a person who has many diseases been treated from all of them at once, Iraq has many complicated diseases. If you start treating one disease, the other will grow and get out of hand. You have to cure all diseases at once in order to get swift benefits.
Now lets get to the solutions without the blame game which has been going nowhere while our troops and innocent Iraqi civilians are paying unnecessary heavy prices.

The following is my scenario of the solution package. I lived half of my life in Baghdad and half of it in the USA. Melting my both perspectives I think is best to get to resolution.

Among all other obvious measures, this includes continuously flying over the borders to halt any penetration to the country

I believe they are very loyal to their country than to a specific political figure. Let them call on their old military units to come back to duty to serve their country and not a specific leader. Iraqi soldiers believe in their military commanders, trust them and have a great respect for them. Those commanders and their units will be the only logical way to clean the streets of Baghdad and other Iraqi cities and towns from the different gang groups, insurgents and militias.

If you want to clean the country from violence, you need to clean the government first. The new government should have well known figures who Iraqis trust.

I remember during the Census Day in Iraq, recruited groups visited every single residential unit in the country in an effort to interview citizens to make sure that their ballots are filled out without improper information. I think if this can happen, then we can use the same format and recruit security groups all over Iraq. Then on one day curfew, they go door to door to make sure who is accounted for and who is not. This will include making sure that the occupants of each housing unit have the proper Property Title. All houses have to be returned to their owners. We can do a lot of things during that day. Of course, the government would have mailed each housing unit comprehensive forms to examine and fill out so they be ready on that day. This includes updated photographs and fingerprinting.

To have all Iraqi religious leaders meet and put their differences aside in an effort to send a powerful and firm message to the Iraqis not to let their differences conquer them. Those leaders should also put pressure on the government to change the I.D. card to be issued without the listing of sectarian affiliations. The religious leaders also should facilitate the return of people to their houses after all the sectarian segregation.

Part of solving the crisis, the Iraqi Society is in desperate need of social rehabilitation and economic solutions. Start employing Iraqis to build their country instead of getting foreign contractors to do that. No better way to build Iraq except with the hands of its own people. Not to mention that this is very therapeutical to the society. We cannot wait until the violence is over for such programs to start.

I don't think I need to describe the horrible situation of the infrastructure. It needs rebuilding on high gear.
Sewage System
Roads & Bridges

We have to help Iraqis start (for real) rebuilding the followings:
Hospitals: Remodel all hospitals and supply them with the state of the art medical equipments and supplies.
Give incentives to Iraqi professionals (doctors, professors, engineers, etc) to return back to their country to help in its rebuilding.
Schools: Remodel and secure schools on all levels
Department Stores: We have to start NOW supplying the entire country with major department stores just like Wall Marts, Costco, Home Depot, CVS. Iraqis are in desperate need for all necessary consumer goods and medicine to feel like they are been treated as human beings again.

This will be the only way the U.S. can contribute to having such diverse plan of action be enforced and get done in a short period of time. The Iraqi government and military cannot do this alone.

There are many kinds of refugees. We are not talking about the Iraqis who call themselves refugees, yet they are living well outside their country. We are talking about the ones who are thriving to get food and basic needs on a daily basis.

I hope that my plan of action can be heard all over the world and that it can be implemented.

May Peace Be With All Of You.
An Iraqi-American Woman
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There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.
- O. Henry
... The Government is on course for an embarrassing showdown with the European Union, business groups and environmental charities after refusing to guarantee that billions of pounds of revenue it stands to earn from carbon-permit trading will be spent on combating climate change.
The Independent (UK)

Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)