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Author Topic: Amnesty in Iraq
Dagonee
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From the Washington Post:

There are various conflicting reports from the Iraq government that they are considering amnesty for insurgents who have engaged U.S. troops. I first heard about this a couple days ago, and my thought was, "Yeah, they're going to have to do that to win a peace."

The article today retracts some specific statements about possible amnesty, but seems to suggest that the Iraqi government is still considering this.

Then I got to this part of the article:

quote:
"It is shocking that the Iraqi prime minister is reportedly considering granting amnesty to insurgents who have killed U.S. troops," Senate Democratic Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) said. "On the day we lost the 2,500th soldier in Iraq, the mere idea that this proposal may go forward is an insult to the brave men and women who have died in the name of Iraqi freedom. I call on President Bush to denounce this proposal immediately."

"Terrorists and insurgents shouldn't be rewarded for killing American soldiers," said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who also sponsored the resolution.

The Senate resolution declared, in part, that, ''President Bush should immediately notify the government of Iraq that the United States government opposes granting amnesty in the strongest possible terms."

What are others' thoughts on this? My thinking is that an insurgent facing a prison term is less likely to stop being an insurgent. Even if punishing each insurgent who had engaged U.S. troops was a just thing to do (and I'm not convinced it is), I don't see it helping end the internal strife.

My assumption is that the amnesty would apply to those who give a full accounting (as in South Africa) and lay down arms, not those caught in combat.

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Lyrhawn
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Amnesty might be a price that WE have to pay, if we want LESS soldiers kill in the future. A desperate man with no hope of pardon is going to act desperately, and that means more danger for our troops. So long as they fully cooperate, and don't rejoin the insurgents, I think amnesty is a reality we might have to deal with.

There could be thousands of insurgents in Iraq. I mean, we disbanded the Iraqi army after we had just finished fighting with it, but didn't charge the individual soldiers with crimes. It's not realistic to expect to extradite or keep those thousands in jail anywhere.

I'm curious to see what the average soldier thinks of this. Are they willing to lose thousands more brothers in arm to root out every last insurgent? Or would they rather those brothers go home alive, and some enemy combatants go home alive and free as well?

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Dagonee
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quote:
I'm curious to see what the average soldier thinks of this.
Me, too. Soldiers have to be more used to the idea of hostilities ending without trials and punishment than we are. But, they're also the ones being shot at. I wonder which way they come down on this.
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erosomniac
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quote:
What are others' thoughts on this? My thinking is that an insurgent facing a prison term is less likely to stop being an insurgent. Even if punishing each insurgent who had engaged U.S. troops was a just thing to do (and I'm not convinced it is), I don't see it helping end the internal strife.
I read about this in the Seattle Times today, and I'm still not sure how I feel about it. I honestly can't envision the conditions and mindset of the average Iraqi insurgent to form an opinion I'm satisfied with, but my gut feeling is to agree with you on the above-quoted points.

quote:
I'm curious to see what the average soldier thinks of this. Are they willing to lose thousands more brothers in arm to root out every last insurgent? Or would they rather those brothers go home alive, and some enemy combatants go home alive and free as well?
I'm very interested to see a few military perspectives on this as well.
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airmanfour
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I just sent a friend of mine in Iraq that link. I'll tell you what he says. I have a feeling I'll have to sanitize it.
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Sergeant
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I think most of the military guys out there will realize the futility of trying to track down every solitary man that every took part in a fire fight with US troops. There may be some colorful responses to the question but in war the possiblity of getting everyone in the other army or the goal of doing so isn't really the objective. I'm pretty sure if you could guarantee that the amnesty would bring peace the troops would be all for it.

(I don't speak of my opinion as a Army veteran or as a Air Guardsmen because I have not spent any time over in theatre and have not lost any friends in the fighting, so I will leave it to those who have to make a statement.)

Sergeant

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Tresopax
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I don't think these congressmen are being realistic. If we waited for an unconditional surrender in all wars, we'd probably still be fighting some of them. The reality is that in order to secure victory, we often have to let our enemies off the hook to a certain degree.
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King of Men
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Regular soldiers do not need an amnesty for shooting at you. Domestic criminals do. Therefore, giving an amnesty to the insurgents is taking a step towards recognising this as a real civil war. I think this is a good thing. It's particularly good if the insurgents are willing to play by the rules; after all, the reason we have laws of war in the first place is to make wars slightly less horrible. It's also good if it makes them more inclined to surrender. Again, one reason to treat prisoners well is so you can get more prisoners; one reason the Germans fought so desperately to defend Berlin, even at the very tail end of the war when it was clear that all was lost, was that they didn't want to surrender to the Russians. The western Allies would probably have taken the city a lot faster. Finally, it's good because it means recognising that this is, in fact, a real war. Not an incident, an insurgency, or a rash of terrorism, but genuine guerrilla warfare, admittedly with a particularly barbarian opponent. I think some parts of the administration are still stuck in the old 2003 mindset of "they'll welcome us with flowers". If the Iraqi government can take even a small step towards making them recognise that they have a real struggle on their hands, it will have done an excellent job. I do think the US has the resources and the will to win such a war, but first everybody in positions of power has to realise that there is one.
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Lupus
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If it brings us towards peace, it is a good idea. In war people shoot at eachother...its to be expected. Trying to track down every person who shot at you will just get more people to shoot at you, creating a never ending cycle.

It would be interesting to see if the same democrats who are arguing against this are also saying that we need to get out quickly. You can't have it both ways.

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Sterling
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I think if I had served in Iraq, the conditional nature of the amnesty- for those who have attacked U.S. troops, but not those who have killed Iraqis- would have me seeing red.

But I think that very nature may go far in suggesting to those who support the insurgents that the new Iraqi government is more than a U.S. puppet. Which, in turn, might go a good way towards cutting off the insurgents' momentum.

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Robin Kaczmarczyk
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To err is human.

To forgive, divine.

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Lyrhawn
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How would they ever prove who was responsible for killing one or the other Sterling? More Iraqis have ben killed than Americans, it'd be counterproductive to make that the rule.
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SenojRetep
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Lyr-

The distinction between insurgents who have killed US troops and those who have killed Iraqis was made by the Iraqi PM, not Sterling:
quote:
At Wednesday's news conference, Maliki said reconciliation could include an amnesty for those "who weren't involved in the shedding of Iraqi blood.

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Tresopax
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quote:
If it brings us towards peace, it is a good idea.
Torture might bring us towards peace. Is THAT a good idea?
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
quote:
If it brings us towards peace, it is a good idea.
Torture might bring us towards peace. Is THAT a good idea?
You and I have different definitions of "peace".
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MrSquicky
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I apparently have a very different perspective on this. To me, this is/was obviously inevitable. When I read the first bit, I was thinking that the opposition to this was the Democrats' version of the flag burning and gay marriage ammendment. That is, they were using it to stick it to Republicans come election time.
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Tresopax
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quote:
You and I have different definitions of "peace".
I don't think we do.
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BlackBlade
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When you are close to crushing the opposition isnt it a common tactic to offer the other side amnesty in order to end the conflict more speedily?

In the American Civil War the Confederacy was never recognized as anything other than a rebel army of insurgents. At least not by the Union. Towards the end of the Civil War Lincoln offered General amnesty to all the soldiers who had fired a gun at Union troops at any time.

I do not agree that offering the insurgents amnesty is disrespectful to the fallen amongst our troops as they are fighting to obtain peace. I doubt the soldiers (but what would I know) would prefer obtaining peace by killing/imprisoning every single Iraqi who saw them as enemies. I would be willing to bet most soldiers would be happy to offer the other side peace if it meant a quick end to this conflict.

But I say again, "What would I know?"

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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by Dagonee:
What are others' thoughts on this? My thinking is that an insurgent facing a prison term is less likely to stop being an insurgent. Even if punishing each insurgent who had engaged U.S. troops was a just thing to do (and I'm not convinced it is), I don't see it helping end the internal strife.

(I'm pretty sure you can guess my take on it, Dagonee. *grin)
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Dagonee
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quote:
I think if I had served in Iraq, the conditional nature of the amnesty- for those who have attacked U.S. troops, but not those who have killed Iraqis- would have me seeing red.
The other quotes I read involved the phrase "innocent Iraqi blood," which could mean non-Iraqi army blood. And I'd be OK with that distinction.

quote:
(I'm pretty sure you can guess my take on it, Dagonee. *grin)
Yes, but I'd love to hear the why.

This seemed so obvious to me that I'm worried if I'm missing something in my analysis.

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Dagonee
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
quote:
If it brings us towards peace, it is a good idea.
Torture might bring us towards peace. Is THAT a good idea?
Tres, you've made a mistake similar to one made in the death penalty thread. The "it" in the statement you quoted was not general, but referring to amnesty. Saying amnesty is a good idea if it brings us towards peace is not the same as saying anything that brings us towards peace is OK.

(And I realize you asked a question, but the capitalization of "THAT" made me consider it rhetorical.)

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Mig
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The spokesman for PM al-Maliki made it very clear in an interview I saw last night on FOXNews that he had been misquoted about the amnesty issue. He was unequivical in stating that they are considering a grant of amnesty BUT they would not grant amnesty for people who commit crimes against Iraqis AND against coalition troops.

However, the Washington Post is reporting today that the new Kurdish President Talabani is considering a grant of amnesty to the insurgents and has left open the door to the possibility of granting amensty to those who've killed.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
quote:
You and I have different definitions of "peace".
I don't think we do.
Peace, as I understand it, cannot be obtained by torture.
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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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I see amnesty as possibly working as part of a multi-step solution, but what about the out of country insurgents? Do they get amnesty and citizenship, or amnesty and deported to their home country. Is this plenary amnesty or is it amnesty for those who come forward and identify themselves. Mostly, I'm concerned that granting amnesty is seen as a treatment in leiu of addressing the issues that the insurgents are fighting for.
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Shawshank
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I think this degree of amnesty is probably a good idea. Once Iraqis start seeing a little less of American troops in their own backyard- I believe it will be more likely for them to stop fighting.

I believe thar right now what is most needed in the Iraqi situation isn't just the same old "We'll keep on working til the job is done" but some fresh, new, innovative ideas (which I realize would also make it more likely to fail) and this just might be the key.

quote:
Originally posted by: Irami Osei-Frimpong

But what about the out of country insurgents?

I don't think these people deserve amnesty under any condition. These are just your basic run-of-the-mill terrorists- coming into Iraq only to stir up trouble and kill innocents.
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Sterling
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quote:
The other quotes I read involved the phrase "innocent Iraqi blood," which could mean non-Iraqi army blood. And I'd be OK with that distinction.
Now that could get dicey. What of people who were attacked outside a recruiting station?

Of course, I realize until an actual amnesty is declared, recognition of specifics remains speculative.

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