Question: What should the next US President do to get the military out of Iraq?
Howard Zinn: I think the next president should begin, announce the immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. I think this will be a very healthy thing for Iraq.
The American occupation has not helped a thing. It has not stopped civil war; it has provoked civil war. It has not given the Iraqi people security or democracy; it has given them the opposite. It has ruined their country. And, of course, it has ruined our country, too.
The most important thing is for the Iraqis. I think the next president should announce the immediate withdrawal and he should call upon the international community--the UN [United Nations], the Arab States--to convene an international body to mediate in Iraq among the different groups, among the Shiites and the Sunnis and the Kurds, and try to work out--and this is what the United States should not do--try to work out a compromised solution for the conflicts among them. I say to not try to work out a compromised solution.
The United States moved in, shock and awe with enormous force, set the Shiites up in power, moved the Sunnis out and created the conditions for the present civil war. So getting out, trying to help with an international group, using our resources to give food and medicine and restore clean water and all the fundamental things that the Iraqis have been deprived of because of the war. In other words, we can begin to do constructive things, rather than continuing the destruction.
Recorded on: July 5, 2008