The New Definition of "Junk" Mail

Does anyone over the age of ten actually look forward to checking their mailbox anymore? I’m not talking about your e-mail mailbox, I’m talking about the actual box in front of your house that, unless you are unusually lucky, contains only two types of items: bills and bulk advertising.

As a part of my daily ritual, I’ve found that I can sort the mail in about 2.4 seconds with bills going into one pile and everything else going straight into the garbage. However, a few days ago I received a piece that caused me to start a second pile: a bulk mail flyer that actually made it past the trash cutoff. It wasn’t colorful or particularly eye-catching, but its combination of words piqued my curiosity, although not in a good way.

That combination of words was the name, “Dennis J. Kucinich,” and the disclosure: “This mailing was prepared, published, and mailed at taxpayer expense.”

The reason it caught my attention was that, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what he’s done lately that would warrant individual notification of every mailing address in his constituency. So, my curiosity got the better of me. And, to my great surprise, it really paid off. After suffering through stories about “hot” gas, Medicare, and foreclosures, low and behold, there it was: the Kucinich 12-step plan for immediate withdrawal from Iraq.

For the benefit of those that did not spare the flyer, what follows is an exact reprint of his plan (HR 1234), as detailed in the mailing:

1. The U.S. announces it will end the occupation, close military bases, and withdraw.

2. The U.S. announces it will use existing funds to bring the troops home and necessary equipment home.

3. Order a simultaneous return of all U.S. contractors to the U.S. and turn over all contracting work to the Iraqi government.

4. Convene a regional conference for the purpose of developing a security and stabilization force for Iraq

5. Prepare an international security and peacekeeping force to move in, replace U.S. troops who then return home.

6. Develop and fund a process of reconciliation.

7. Reconstruction and Jobs.

8. Reparations.

9. Political Sovereignty.

10. Dealing with the Iraq economy.

11. Economic sovereignty for Iraq.

12. A process of international truth and reconciliation between the people of the United States and the People of Iraq.

Admittedly, I’m a firm supporter of not just the troops, but also the war itself (now, please don’t start arguing with me about WMD’s, the U.S. oil interests, or anything else along that line). However, regardless of my position, I’m always ready to listen and give any idea a fair shake, so here goes…

With regard to Kucinich’s plan: I feel that steps 1-3 are pretty straightforward, if not a little redundant. He wants everyone home and home now. I have no problem with that perspective. I don’t agree, but I have no problem with his position.

Step 4 is where his plan gets interesting. The choice of the word “regional” has me a little scared. Please tell me that you’re looking for more input than that of Iran, Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, because I don’t think we need to convene a conference to know their position.

If step 4 was cause for concern, then step 5 is where he lost me completely. If it’s your argument that the U.S. can’t control the sectarian violence, exactly where do you propose to find a peacekeeping force that can? Please do not dare respond by uttering the words “United Nations.” If they had any ability to keep the peace, we wouldn’t have needed to invade in the first place.

And it doesn’t get any more logical in steps 6-8. As for reconciliation, can we just send flowers, or should we invite the Sunnis and Shiites over for a barbeque? I’m not sure American Greetings has a card that says, “We’re sorry your previous leader violated international treaties, forcing us to come back and kick your ass.” And, for me, a little more information is required for step 7 because I’m not sure how to help with reconstruction and jobs if we’ve removed all the personnel and equipment. Perhaps we can send them a bunch of Home Depot gift cards to go with the flowers. And, if I understand step 8 correctly, apparently the flowers and gift cards aren’t enough, because for what the situation really calls is cold, hard cash.

And if the last steps were hard to understand, just get a load of numbers 9-11. Does Mr. Kucinich understand the definition of the word “sovereignty”?

To paraphrase, the plan can be summed up into three major sections:

A. Replace our force with someone else’s.

B. Give them complete sovereignty, yet retain responsibility for reconstruction, jobs, and their overall economy.

C. Find a way to reconcile our differences. In other words, “can’t we all just get along?”

Okay, maybe I gave it a little less than a fair shake, but, come on: if nothing else, let’s just explore his definition of the word “immediate.” By my calculations, steps 1-3 could take months, step 5 could take more than a year, and step 12 even longer than either of those two.

My advice is to deep six the 12-step plan and focus on the evils of “hot” gas. If you don’t trust my analysis and would like to keep an eye on this and all of the other proposals of your representatives yourself, I highly recommend visiting the Library of Congress website at
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Volume 3, Issue 15, Posted 5:16 PM, 07.13.2007