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Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

As reported by Donald Sensing, both Democrats and Republicans have gone ballistic over the proposal of Iraqi
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to offer amnesty to some Iraqi insurgents.
Citing the Financial Times, he writes that the amnesty proposal is one of a number of reconciliation initiatives to go with massive security crackdowns the Prime Minister hopes will quel the sectarian violence plaguing the country, (and especially Baghdad), where scores are dying.
According to a Washington Post Op-ed, The amnesty plan is likely to include pardons for those who had attacked only U.S. troops, according to a top Iraqi adviser. The adviser characterizes
those attacks as “a patriotic feeling among the Iraqi youth and the belief that those attacks are legitimate acts of resistance and defending their homeland.”
“These people will be pardoned definitely, I believe,” the adviser said. “We can see if somehow those who are so-called resistance can be accepted if they
have not been involved in any kind of criminal behavior, such as killing innocent people or damaging infrastructure, and even infrastructure if it is minor
will be pardoned.”
As unpleasant as this sounds, I’m not sure the Prime Minister really has a choice.
His end goal seems to be the same as ours, which is ending the insurgency.
Killing every last insurgent is a near impossibility.
Furthermore, I think it’s evident that a large number of the insurgents are fighting and killing because they believe it their nationalistic duty to do so.
There’s no way anyone can reasonably expect the Iraqis to just sit back and trust that a foreign power has their best interests at heart, and will run their country the way the Iraqis would want it run.
Those of us living on this side of the Atlantic surely wouldn’t go for it, and there’s no reason to think the Iraqis would either, unless you count foolishness as a reason.
This amnesty proposal may be part of the price we have to pay in order to see a free and democratic Iraq.
And at this point, it seems to be only in the proposal state.
The Iraqis haven’t fleshed everything out.
And, Sensing rightly points out, those against amnesty would do well to consider some history.
By 8 December, 1863, President Lincoln had granted pardon to all Confederate soldiers, excepting the highest ranking military officials.
(Source)
And on 9 April, 1865, when General Lee surrendered to General Grant, all Confederate enlisted men and officers were allowed to return home, with the proviso that they observe all the laws in force in the areas where they lived.
(Source)
As distasteful as this is, it may be the best weapon we can use against those who would keep the Middle East ruled by despots.
No one ever said keeping your eye on the main goal would be easy, especially in this conflict.
But I’d sooner make some very hard sacrifices than have this thing drag on forever.


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