Add to this hopeful news from Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki who has offered a proposal aimed at accelerating Iraqi take over of Iraqi security. Key to this proposal is a suggestion of an offer of amnesty for those that have participated in the insurgency, but not committed war crimes against Iraqis.
Democrats had been the most vocal about setting timetable for withdrawal (BTW, I am not a "timetable" proponent, but probably am an accelerated staged withdrawal advocate). So it was with great dismay as I listened to Democratic Senator Carl Levin of Michigan say "the idea that Iraq should even consider talking about amnesty for people who have harmed those responsible for their freedom 'unconscionable'" on Fox News this last Sunday. He also went on to say, "For heaven's sake, we liberated that country." To which I would have to say of course one man's liberation is another man's occupation. And just to wrap himself in the flag a little tighter he continued on with "We got rid of a horrific dictator. We've paid a tremendous price." I guess our "terrific price" is more important than the terrific price the Iraqis have paid. How dare they with their mere 40,000 civilian dead be for a plan that diminishes violence when with over 2,500 American service men have died?
More importantly why are those who have already died so much important than those both American and Iraqi that might be saved if the plan actually did have the effect of dampening sectarian violence? This plan achieves America's stated goals of having a self-governing democracy in place and disengages us from the fighting. To my way of thinking we would be dishonoring those who have died by ignoring this chance at success, the success they were supposedly fighting for. We'd be throwing this all away -- all in the name of revenge. To veto Iraq's amnesty proposal outright would damage America's image abroad, show that we are not about saving civilian lives, and show we are not for allowing an actual free autonomous Iraq.
Embrace the amnesty I say. How better to show our values to the insurgents than granting mercy to them -- mercy being a quality we so often (perhaps hollowly) state separates us from them.