A Solution to the Iraq Quagmire
By Richard Cranium
As a decent freedom-loving American, I was really hoping Bush was going to come up with a winner when he made that speech a few weeks ago outlining his plan to wrap things up in Iraq. But as he mumbled and stumbled his way through, it became clear that this was the usual mumbo-jumbo, the same-old-shizzle just wrapped up in a five-point plan format to sound more concrete or something.
I was bummed out like you wouldn't believe. After all the crap that's gone on, this guy still doesn't have a clue? He couldn't even pronounce Abu Ghraib correctly ("Abu Ga-a-a-ra-a-aaaabeee")! It all got me thinking, you know, because if he doesn't have a plan, someone has to come up with one.
A little after all this, I was sitting around reading the New York Times. I came upon an interesting article, and all of a sudden a grand solution to the fiasco in Iraq came together in my head like a huge explosion played in rewind…
The article was about this Brazilian guy who was selling one of his vital organ on the black market ("Tracking the Sale of a Kidney on a Path of Poverty and Hope", May 23, 2004). According to the Times, there is "a global black market for organs, including livers, kidneys and lungs, that touches dozens of countries and generates many millions of dollars a year."
The article went on to describe the dire need for organ transplants that my fellow Americans have: "More than 3,300 Americans died last year awaiting kidney transplants, and the Brooklyn woman was among 85,000 people on waiting lists in the United States, 60,000 of them in need of kidneys. The average wait can be five years."
Five years!?! You gotta be kidding me! Who can wait five years to get a vital organ? And just read this heartbreaking excerpt describing the experience of an old Brooklyn woman:
"I had been on dialysis for 15 years and on two transplant lists for 7," said the woman, who asked not to be identified by name, for fear of losing support payments vital to maintaining the health of her transplanted organ. "Nothing was happening, and my health was getting worse and worse." Finally, she said, "my doctors told me to get a kidney any way I could," or expect to die.
She took their warning seriously. The years of dialysis had left her with worsening heart and lung problems. She also suffered from severe osteoporosis. "I had seen four other ladies that I knew pass away" while they waited for kidney donors, she said.
So basically, good freedom-loving Americans are in grave need of body parts, and these needs are being terribly neglected. But there's another side to it. As I said, these body parts are being sold on the black market, and for *BIG TIME* money. People from places like Brazil and South Africa are able to sell their kidneys for as much as $150,000 a pop. And that's not all: livers, corneas, blood plasma-all this is in high demand. The Times said that "Some who had done so [sold their organs] were already buying houses, businesses, cars and refrigerators."
Remembering all this, and seeing Bush blunder daily over the Iraq crisis, I came up with what I believe is the end-all solution to the situation in Iraq. This is a solution that will not only be mutually beneficial, but it will teach Iraqis the virtues of the free market, encourage personal initiative… and even weaken the terrorists.
My solution is this: we legalize the selling of vital organs between Iraq and the USA. The Iraqis can begin their nation building process by selling us their body parts!
I know it sounds crazy, but think about it: each individual Iraqi will be able to exercise their individuality and hone their sense of market incentive by choosing to "donate" one or more of their body parts. They will be able to profit handsomely off of the transaction while learning the virtues of the free world, and the money will go straight to the individual economic agent, not any bureaucratic agency. It will build a true foundation for a healthy Iraqi consumerism, a kind of "trickle-up" economics. The problems of reconstructing the country (which was destroyed after Saddam forced us to bomb him) would largely be solved. We want to get the Free Iraq off on a good start in terms of its economic infrastructure and priorities. We want to integrate them into the global game, and this means no socialist or public-owned hoo-ha. This plan will install these values on the most visceral, gut-wrenching level.
Besides being a driving force towards creating a true Iraqi democracy, my plan would solve our dire need for bodily organs described above. I mean, we could theoretically just kill more people, steal and freeze their body parts, and ship them back home. But this would soooooooo go against our character and ideals. With my plan, we can do things legally, and good law-abiding Americans don't have to continue suffering in languish over the next available kidney. In addition, it will also humanize our priorities in Iraq. After all, what's the only thing more valuable than oil? The precious lives of Americans!
The potential for Iraqis to prosper from this is astounding. Everyone can donate a kidney, and we have a pretty indefinite supply blood and blood plasma. Also, if you think about it, you really only need one eye. You could probably live without a liver if you don't drink (and alcohol doesn't fly with Islam anyway). It's well know that one lung suffices.
So, let's calculate all this just to get a clearer picture of what we're looking at. Though most Iraqis will probably want to get in the game, let's assume that only two million of them (less than 10% of the population) actually go ahead with it. Blood, blood plasma, and kidneys will probably go first, with lungs, livers, and other vitals in lesser quantity. Let's say that between two million Iraqis, within a year we get a total of:
One million kidney (at $130,000 a pop, market value)
15 million pints of blood ($100 a pop)
20 million liters of blood plasma ($400 each)
400,000 livers (at $150,000)
200,000 lungs (probably go for about $180,000)
400,000 miscellaneous organs/body parts (let's say $100,000)
Do you have ANY idea what this adds up to?!?
$275,500,000,000!!! That's over a quarter of a TRILLION dollars!!! (and who knows what in Iraqi currency).
And even if you think I'm estimating too high, you can cut it in half and still get a wallop of a sum. With this amount of revenue dispersed amongst consumers in a New and Free Iraqi, the society will be set to flourish on the most solid of foundations. (And JUST IN CASE we don't need all these body parts, we can send a few Canada's way).
Now that I've verified the feasibility of my solution, I want to add two more reasons for it's desirability that are perhaps most important. The first is that this plan will deal an irreversible blow to the efforts of the terrorists both in the short and long term. Observe what a kidney donor said shortly after "donating":
"I'm tired all the time and can't lift heavy weights, which I have to be able to do if people are going to hire me," he said. "My blood pressure goes up and down, and I feel pain and numbness where the scar from the operation is."
As the thousands of potential terrorists are drawn into my plan, turning their desperation into enrichment before it's too late, the legions of madmen would quickly diminish. I mean, c'mon: even if they WANTED to be terrorists after "donating", we all know that if you lose your body parts, you're not going to be 100% physically. Who can hijack a plane or ambush a convoy with no liver and one eyeball?
I have one last reason, and I believe it is the most compelling. There's been a whole lot of talk about this "clash of civilizations" between the West and the Middle East. Well, I don't buy it, and even if it has some truth to it, it doesn't have to be that way. Bush is always saying he's not one of those persons who believe Arabs aren't capable of freedom, and he seems to be pretty serious when he talks about the need for the United States to forge links of trust and friendship with the Muslim world. I say: what better, more intimate way to do this than to actually put THEIR organs in OUR own bodies? Then we'll be chained to each other by unbreakable bonds of physical solidarity. No more "them" or "us"… We'll actually have THEM in US. How deep is THAT?
But it gets even deeper. Thomas Friedman's been complaining about how the "silent majority" of Iraqis aren't stepping up for freedom and democracy. But by giving-no, selling-us their body parts they'll make sure the American people continue to thrive and exist, and thus (and here's the kick) give us the life-energy to continue spreading freedom and democracy back to them (and others)! Eat that Thomas Friedman!
I know I've been just talking about Iraq, but come to think of it, why limit ourselves there? I recently read another article in the New York Times. It was called "Staving off Starvation: When Real Food Isn't an Option" (May 23, 2004). Now, just read some of these excerpts:
"more than 100,000 Sudanese who have fled fighting in their country and now face starvation…
"In Haiti's slums, round swirls of dough can be found baking in the sun. They look almost appetizing until you learn the ingredients: butter, salt, water and dirt…
"In Malawi, children stand on the roadsides selling skewers of roasted mice…
"In Mozambique, when grasshoppers eat the crops, people turn the tables and eat them, calling the fishy-tasting bugs "flying shrimp…
"In Liberia during the 1989 civil war, every animal in the national zoo was devoured but a one-eyed lion. Dogs and cats disappeared from the streets of the capital…"
My fellow Americans, this madness has got to stop! If the free market is the embodiment of human freedom, then dammit, we need to extend it. The need for vital body parts is not confined just to America. There are decent Europeans and Australians with the same urgent needs, Israelis and Canadians yearning for that one vital organ that could save them or their loved ones. And there are DEFINITELY plenty of hungry, poor, and desperate people outside of Iraq, in places like Sudan, Haiti, Malawi, Mozambique, and Liberia, who are trying to make it in this era of Globalization, who would almost die for a chance to participate in the potential global organ flow from the Third to First world.
We should not wait one more day before initiating this plan. The well being of the human race rests upon its implementation.
(But… let's just FIRST confine it to Iraq so we can get us the hell out of this mess we've made).
Richard Cranium is a youth in his 20s. He is not responsible for any logical inconsistencies in this article (which was originally published on www.lefthook.org). He looks forward to your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org .