Office: How I would settle Iraqi Prisoner Claims.
First of all the U.
S. should not cede sovereign immunity. The claims
should be “settled” not based on what the courts would do, (as with claims in the U.
S.), but should be regarded as a political or
public relations campaign.
To this end I
would include in “settlements,” (payments), not only the abused former prisoner but the prisoner’s family. There are 6 children in a typical Iraqi family, plus parents, often aunts and uncles
and their families, and grandparents. Then too I would include the Mosque, possibly
the tribal elders. Each prisoner might have 30 or 50 additional claims by parents,
brothers, sisters, etc.
This is why I recommend
it be regarded as a political process.
Our first principle
should be that no payment will be made to anyone who has not formally agreed to lay down arms, and who has in fact laid down
arms. The “release” should include such a declaration and an oath
of allegiance to the new Iraqi Government and the principle of peaceful elections. Everyone
must sign this pledge to receive payment. Children’s “releases”
will be signed by their parents. Women should be paid the same as men.
This last point is
part of the political agenda. The claims representatives should be 50% men and
50% women. The claims investigation process is not to verify the injury, and
the facts, (as with claims in the U. S.), but is rather, to
meet with the families and verify that they are in fact honestly in agreement with our first principle. The women claims representatives can meet with the women and the men with the men. Obtaining assent from the family, women and men, serves a larger social purpose: Peace. Think of it as political organizing, not for a party,
but for peace.
If during the
investigation we should discover that the family or clan is committed to toppling the new Iraqi Government we walk away. However, if some family members
are willing to make the pledge and some are not, we settle only with the ones who are.
The same applies to the Mosque. We work with Imams who are supportive
of peace, and leave those who are not.
Settling with a group
is only slightly different from individual settlements, for even in the U. S.,
the claimant typically is entangled in a network of “advisers” who
need to be identified and solicited in even ordinary claims handling. Indeed,
it can be seen that the other family members, and the Mosque, will exert influence, even over otherwise militant individual
former prisoners, to take the oath and agree to our first principle.
I would allow
for a “standard payment” to be known. However, I would also allow
for flexibility, as not all former prisoners are the same, nor are their families.
I would organize an
Iraqi-Anglo-American Insurance Company. I would have the U.
S. capitalize the company with an undisclosed sum.
This sum would represent the Iraqi portion of the capital. This capital,
not spent on “settlements” of prisoners and their families, would revert to the orphans of Iraq
after the end of the claims settlement process. The claims organization would
continue on in the insurance business in Iraq. The prisoner claims process serving as a catalyst for organizing the business. I choose the orphans as the primary beneficiaries because of the
photo I saw shortly after our troops arrived in Baghdad. For me this photo completely explains the war: it showed
a group of Baghdad orphans sleeping on the street next to an American military
check point. The orphans had found some friends.
So when “settling”
with the prisoners our Iraqi claims representatives should know that every dollar spent on the prisoners is a dollar less
for the orphans. None the less I believe the payment of these claims will have
a valuable social political impact and the money is well spent. Just that we
do not want to pay too much. There is the future to think about.
Again, our first
principle is that we are buying peace. We should make no secret that
our claims investigation is to determine if the prisoner and his family are truly on the side of peace. The Iraqi-Anglo-American Insurance Company should be known for its close ties to the new Iraqi Government. It should have a reputation for being
an enforcer of the laws of Iraq. This reputation will serve the company well after the settlement process is complete.
Therefore, with this
process you will:
1 Organize an insurance company that will be important for integrating the new Iraq
into the world economy.
2 Train professionals for employment in insurance.
3 Give equal access to insurance careers for men and women.
4 Investigate the lives and families of former prisoners to verify that they have turned to peace.
5 Obtain written confirmation of their commitment to peace.
6 Involve the families and the wider community, including their Mosque, in a dialog about the importance
7 Create a political organizing ethic among both the men and women for peace.
8 Compensate former prisoners who were mistreated.