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The Lighthouse is the weekly email newsletter of the Independent Institute.
Subscribe now, or browse Back Issues.

Volume 7, Issue 47: November 28, 2005

  1. U.S. Withdrawal Merits Iraq Partition
  2. Gun Control Myths
  3. Summit of the Americas Widens Gulf
  4. KETRA Law Aids Taxpayers and Non-Profit Organizations

1) U.S. Withdrawal Merits Iraq Partition

Three factors have converged to pressure the Bush administration to plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq -- pressure from all major Iraqi groups, from U.S. military leaders, and from U.S. public opinion polls. Unfortunately, a partial reduction of U.S. forces is not sufficient to save Iraq from a civil war, according to Ivan Eland, director of the Independent Institute's Center on Peace & Liberty.

What's needed, according to Eland, is the removal the fear, held by many Arab Sunnis, that the predominantly Shi'a and Kurdish central government will extract revenge for the Sunnis' most-favored status during the regime of Saddam Hussein. Such fears are not without foundation: The Badr Organization has murdered Sunnis and the Interior Ministry, it has recently been learned, created special prisons for detaining and torturing Sunnis.

"To recognize the facts on the ground, the United States should mediate a controlled partition of Iraq so that each group's militia can rule its own area free of fear of oppression from a strong central government," writes Eland. "As an incentive for Sunni acquiescence, any partition arrangement would have to contain an agreement to share petroleum revenues or oil fields. To provide an incentive for the Shi'a and Kurds to share some of that oil wealth for a halt in the Sunni rebellion, the United States would announce an immediate withdraw of its forces, as Congressman John Murtha (D-PA), a conservative decorated Vietnam veteran, and two retired army generals have recently suggested. Those forces are the only thing currently propping up the Shi'ite-Kurdish government. Most likely, either Iraq will be partitioned in this controlled peaceful way or violently by the civil war that will intensify as the United States conducts its gradual troop withdrawal."

See "U.S. Can Head for the Exits in Iraq, But Shouldn’t the Flames Be Doused First?" by Ivan Eland (11/28/05)
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1624
SPANISH TRANSLATION:
"Los Estados Unidos Pueden Encaminarse Hacia la Salida en Irak ¿Pero Primero No Deberían Ser Extinguidas las Llamas?"
http://www.elindependent.org/articulos/article.asp?id=1624

"The Way Out of Iraq: Decentralizing the Iraqi Government," by Ivan Eland
http://www.independent.org/publications/policy_reports/detail.asp?type=full&id=16

To purchase THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, by Ivan Eland, see
http://www.independent.org/store/book_detail.asp?bookID=54

To purchase PUTTING "DEFENSE" BACK IN U.S. DEFENSE POLICY, by Ivan Eland, see
http://www.independent.org/store/book_detail.asp?bookID=19

Center on Peace & Liberty (Ivan Eland, director)
http://www.independent.org/research/copal/

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2) Gun Control Myths

Voters in San Francisco, California, recently passed a strict gun-control measure that would allow officials to confiscate all handguns and ban their purchase. However, according to Independent Institute Research Fellow Don B. Kates, Jr. the measure (known locally as Proposition H) is fatally flawed because it is based on popular misconceptions, rather than facts of criminology.

"If more guns mean more violence, nations with high gun-ownership rates should have high murder rates," Kates writes in a new op-ed. "But two international studies comparing gun ownership with murder rates in 36 and 21 nations (respectively) found 'no significant correlations.'”

Kates notes that a comprehensive study published last December by the National Academy of Sciences "reviewed 43 government publications, 253 journal articles, 99 books, and its own research, [but] could not identify even one example of gun control that reduced murder or violent crime."

Research Fellow Wendy McElroy notes in recent column, for FoxNews.com, that gun control is a subject likely to come before the U.S. Supreme Court -- and that a growing number of female-oriented pro-gun groups will make the public debate over gun control especially interesting. The cause of the growing feminization of firearms, according to McElroy, include the growing presence of women in the military, increased recruitment efforts by pro-gun groups, increased marketing of firearms to women, and the rise of unmarried women and single mothers, who may feel more vulnerable to crime and in need of firearms for self-protection.

Writes McElroy: "Some advocates will be pleasantly surprised to see that the feminization of gun ownership has continued throughout the chaos; guns have become a 'women's cause' conducted, as Women Against Gun Control claims, by 'ladies of high caliber [sic]' Others will be appalled. Me? I'll be on my feet, applauding the women (and men) who are standing up for their human and constitutional right to self-defense."

See "Proposition H: Mythology Instead of Criminology," by Don B. Kates, Jr.
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1621
SPANISH TRANSLATION:
"La Proposición H: Mitología en vez de Criminología"
http://www.elindependent.org/articulos/article.asp?id=1621

"Girls, Get Your Guns," by Wendy McElroy
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1622

More more on gun control, see
http://www.independent.org/issues/search.asp?subID=51

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3) Summit of the Americas Widens Gulf

The recent Summit of the Americas conference has revealed a schism between, on the one hand, countries of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas and, on the other hand, the four Mercosur (South American common market) countries and Venezuela. Mexico, Panama, and the United States appear to lead the first group, while Brazil leads the opposition group.

But as Independent Institute Adjunct Fellow Carlos Sabino notes, Brazil sees its interest differently than another in its anti-FTAA camp, Venezuela. Brazil, led by Lula da Silva, really wants the United States to open its market to Brazilian agricultural products, whereas, Venezuela, led by Hugo Chavez, opposes free trade (and the United States) on principle.

"Unfortunately, Venezuela remains alone and it will be difficult for it to expand its small social club, currently backed only by the dean of the world's dictators," concludes Sabino.

See "The Splitting of the Americas," by Carlos Sabino (11/28/05)
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1623

For information about LIBERTY FOR LATIN AMERICA: How to Undo Five-Hundred Years of State Oppression, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa
http://www.independent.org/store/book_detail.asp?bookID=55

Center on Global Prosperity (Alvaro Vargas Llosa, director)
http://www.independent.org/research/cogp/

Spanish-language Blog:
El Independent: El Blog del Centro Para la Prosperidad Global de The Independent Institute
http://independent.typepad.com/

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4) KETRA Law Aids Taxpayers and Non-Profit Organizations

On September 23, President Bush signed into law the Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act of 2005 (KETRA), which waives the usual deductibility limits on charitable gifts. The Act's provisions apply to cash gifts made by individuals for any charitable purpose to any public charity (with two exceptions, neither of which apply to the Independent Institute, a fully-qualified 501(c)3 organization).

For individual donors, this means that any gifts made to The Independent Institute between August 28, 2005 and December 31, 2005 will not be subject to the 50 percent annual charitable deduction limitation, nor will the deduction be reduced if your income is over $146,000 and is subject to the 3 percent phase-out for itemized deductions.

This presents a unique opportunity to direct more of your own money into advancing a truly positive effort -- our shared goal of the freer society our Founders envisioned. We hope you will consider a larger than usual gift to the Independent Institute this year, or making a contemplated gift before December 31st to take advantage of these additional current tax savings. As with all such decisions, you will want to consult with your tax advisor to review the implications for your personal situation.

And you can rest assured that your gift to the Independent Institute is deployed efficiently and effectively. As documented by Charity Navigator, the premier independent charity evaluator, nearly 86 cents of every dollar goes directly to support of programming, earning us the highest 4-star rating and the top 10 percent of all leading policy organizations.

We hope you can take advantage of this opportunity to target more of your own assets into a cause you care about! To learn more about KETRA, or to discuss making your gift, please contact Independent Institute Development Director John Campbell at (510) 632-1366 x114.

For membership information, see
http://www.independent.org/membership/

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