Republican presidential candidate Tommy Thompson says it is time to have the Iraqis vote on whether they want U.S. troops in their country.
"I would require the al-Malaki government to vote. They’re a duly elected government, like our government. They should vote whether or not they want the United States in our country," Thompson says. "That would accomplish great things at least for the rest of the outside world to say: ‘These people have voted…to have the United States there.’"
Thompson doubts the Iraqis would vote to expel U.S. troops and such a vote would silence many critics. "It gives us immediate credibility and legitimacy," Thompson says.
In addition, Thompson says it’s time to let the 18 territories in Iraq to elect local leaders in the same way that the 50 states get to elect governors and legislators. Thompson believes that would ease some of the religious strife if Sunnis, Shi’ia and Kurds are allowed to elect their own local governments.
Thompson also says it’s time for the U.S. to make it clear that profits from Iraq’s oil supply will stay in Iraq. "I would split the oil proceeds one-third for the centralized government, one-third for the territorial governments and then one-third for every man, woman and child," Thompson says. "What you would accomplish there is you would allow every man, woman and child to have a stake in their country and in their government."
Thompson contends Iraqis would "come together" to make sure the oil wells aren’t blown up and they’d do everything they can to expand production.
Thompson was governor of Wisconsin and also served as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services during President Bush’s first term.
Thompson was the keynote speaker at the Iowa College Republicans convention in West Des Moines Friday night. He has Saturday campaign stops scheduled in Des Moines, Waterloo, Dubuque, Davenport and Clinton.