Thursday, June 15, 2006

Amnesty for the Insurgency?

There's a big flap today over suggestions that the new Iraqi government will offer amnesty to insurgents, so long as they haven't killed Iraqis. I don't know how they'll sort that out and it seems as if the Iraqi PM is now backing away from the idea, but it does make a certain amount of sense -- promising them a swift and brutal death would only give them an incentive to go down fighting (or to try to win).

Now, Atrios tells us that a bunch of Republicans in congress are all for this amnesty. He's got their words on his site. I think I pretty much agree with Atrios that some form of amnesty is the kind of, as he says, "political solution" (as opposed to a military solution) that's needed.

But, in backing this and by drawing analogies to Civil War confederates (as Senator Ted Stevens does) aren't the Repubicans, for the first time, giving Iraq's insurgents a label that's more akin to legitimate revolutionaries than terrorists?

In a way, Stevens makes the right analogy -- confederate soldiers were fighting for one of history's lowest causes and I think no better of the causes backed by radical Islam. But that, of course, isn't the comparison he's trying to make. We don't view the Confederates as terrorists, after all. We look at them as a group of people who were on the wrong moral and practical sides of a legitimate war.

So, I guess what those Republicans are really saying, whether they know it or not, is that they now consider Iraq's insurgents not terrorists but revolutionaries. I guess that makes Zarqawi into General Lee.


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