After several years of being on the receiving end of sleazy “why do you hate the troops?” attacks, I suppose I can understand why John Aravosis would be eager for an opportunity to turn the tables, but for reasons Jim Henley lays out pretty well, that doesn’t make it any less of a stupid sacrifice of sound policy to cheap rhetoric.
The issue, of course, is the news that Iraqi officials have mulled offering some kind of amnesty to insurgents who’ve killed American troops. And since, I suppose, Republicans have been insufficiently condemnatory of the idea, it’s clearly a rank betrayal of Our Brave Fighting Men and Women.
Here are the problems. First, presuming to dictate to a supposedly sovereign nation how to carry out their reconciliation process? Not exactly selling the “liberators-not-colonizers” line. Second, according to recent estimates, there were about 20,000 insurgents in Iraq in may. It’s probably a safe bet that Haditha has produced some swelling in the ranks since then. Obviously, it’s not like each of them have individually shot some American, but when you’re carrying out death-by-IED, I think you’ve got to end up calling the whole group guilty if anyone is when a bomb some cell has produced kills a Marine. Some fraction of that 20,000 might be hardcore theocrats. I bet a lot of them are just guys who, after a lifetime of propaganda about the imperial ambitions of the United States, unsurprisingly lack the faith of folk here at home about our benign intentions and imagine themselves to be defending their homeland against a hostile occupying force seeking to subjugate them. Presumably not all of them are irredeemably evil thugs just because they’re not persuaded we’re really just there to spread peace and democracy. I expect for every one who’s actually taken up arms, there are more who are sympathetic. Is it really supposed to help the process of building a unified and peaceful nation to impose some contentious punishment if and when the country’s finally on the road to stability? Or, more importantly, to give the insurgents a strong incentive to fight to the very last man? Sounds like the kind of “bring ‘em on’ bullshit you’d expect Aravosis et al to reject out of hand if it weren’t convenient ofr scoring points against ideological enemies.