Recently posted to lbo-talk:
I’m not much of a fan of Milton Friedman, but he once offered a very
interesting suggestion to rid society of crime.
“The first and most obvious [way to reduce the amount of crime] is to
reduce the range of activities that are designated as illegal. Surely,
one reason for the growth in crime is that the number of activities that
are classified as such, has multiplied in recent decades.”
Friedman, Milton. 1997. “Economics of Crime.” The Journal of Economic
Perspectives , Vol. 11, No. 2 (Spring): p. 194.
[This idea also has a history in Marxist criminology; it’s called “labeling.” —D&S]
Following Friedman’s logic the Defense Department found a simple
strategy for evacuating the cities.
“On a map of Baghdad, the US Army’s Forward Operating Base Falcon is
clearly within city limits. Except that Iraqi and American military
officials have decided it’s not. As the June 30 deadline for US soldiers
to be out of Iraqi cities approaches, there are no plans to relocate the
roughly 3,000 American troops who help maintain security in south
Baghdad along what were the fault lines in the sectarian war. “We and
the Iraqis decided it wasn’t in the city,” says a US military official.
The base on the southern outskirts of Baghdad’s Rasheed district is an
example of the fluidity of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) agreed
to late last year, which orders all US combat forces out of Iraqi
cities, towns, and villages by June 30.”
Arraf, Jane. 2009. To Meet June Deadline, US and Iraqis Redraw City
Borders. Christian Science Monitor (19 May).
Here is my suggestion: just redefine Iraq to be the Green Zone. Declare
victory now that U.S. government has conquered the country. The rest
could be disputed territory, such as Israel defines the West Bank. The
United Nations, Iraq’s neighbors, or even the Iraqi people could sort
out what to do with this disputed territory.
Republicans should be delighted to be able to claim that Bush’s policy
is vindicated. Democrats could crow about how they achieved peace. And
the Defense Department could find a less dangerous land to bomb.