Crossposted on Dailykos.
This week the Iraqi government has had an on again, off again, on again flirtation with granting Amnesty to (hopefully soon to be) Insurgents as part of a plan for U.S. Forces to leave.
It's an idea that has given polticians on both sides of the aisle conniption fits.
How could they...?
What a slap in the face to our troops...?
Even Russ Feingold has suggested that the idea of granting Amnesty to those who've killed Iraqis is "Ok", but those who killed Americans, "No, Way"?
Are you kidding me?
This Dkos diary here attempts to parrellel the suggestion of granting Amnesty to iraqi Insurgents is wrong because it doesn't match the method in which President Lincoln granted Amnesty and required a loyalty oath of the defeated Southern States following our own Civil War. Lincoln at Gettysburg:
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
My problem with this is that:
It's not our Civil War, and it's not our Country. We are an unwanted third party in the conflict between the factions within the Iraqi nation - and lastly, it's not our decision. If Iraq is to form it's own government, it has to make it's own decision, even decision we might find aborhent like granting amnesty to people who fought and killed the people who invaded their country on false pretenses.
If we want the Iraqis to forgive and grant us Amnestry for the WMD and Nuclear threat lies, we're going to have to give up something. What exactly would be as valuable?
The end of all wars generally means the end of hostilities for all parties, including the end of any vendettas for any persons killed or attacked during the active portion of the war. Yes, there may be the surrender of persons for specfic War Crimes in preparation for trial, but if we wish to have the Iraqi Government support the idea of ex-insurgents being turned over in this manner -- then they would have the arguement that Amnesty International long ago stated that the following Americans should be investigated, arrested and tried for War Crimes as well.
Donald Rumsfeld: For approving a Sept 2002 Memorandum that permitted unlawful torture techniques such as stress positions, prolonged isolation, stripping and the use of dogs at Guantanemo Bay.
William Haynes - Department of Defense General Counsel : Who wrote that Memo.
Douglas Feith : Who was listed in the Sept 2002 Memo as concurring with it's conclusions.
Maj General Geoffrey Miller - Commander of Joint Task Force at Guantanemo : Whose subordinates used some of those same torture techniques (as approved by the Haynes Memo), and was then sent to Iraq where he recommended that prison guards - "soften up" detainees for interrogation.
George Tenet - former CIA Director : Whose organization kept "Ghost Detainees" off registration logs and hid them from members of the Red Cross, and whose operatives reportedly used such techniques as water-boarding, suffocation, stress positions and incommunicado detention.
Roberto Gonzales - Attorney General and former White House Council: Who called the Geneva Conventions "quaint and obsolete" in a Jan 2002 memo, and requested the "Bybee Memo" which fueled the atrocities at Abu Ghraib.
Lt General Ricardo Sanchez - former commander of U.S. Forces in Iraq and his deputee: Who failed to ensure proper oversight at Abu Ghraib.
Capt. Carolyn Wood : Who oversaw interrogation operations at Bagram AFB in Afghanistan, which permitted the use of dogs, sensory deprovation and stress positions.
George W. Bush - President : Whose Administration has repeatedly justified it's interrogation policies as legitimate, under the Presidents powers as Commander-in-Chief, and President Bush also signed a Feb 2002 Memo stating that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to al-Qaeda or Taliban detainees, and that their humane treatment should be contigent upon "Military Neccesity" - which clearly set the stage for the tragic use of torture by U.S. forces.
There is also the fact that Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez specifically skirted the U.S. own War Crimes Laws by arguing that "Enemy Combatants" shouldn't be granted status under the Geneva Conventions - even though Geneva indicates that they should be included. From Newsweek.
[Gonzales then WH Council] warned more than two years ago that U.S. officials could be prosecuted for "war crimes" as a result of new and unorthodox measures used by the Bush administration in the war on terrorism, according to an internal White House memo and interviews with participants in the debate over the issue. The concern about possible future prosecution for war crimes--and that it might even apply to Bush adminstration officials themselves-- is contained in a crucial portion of an internal January 25, 2002, memo by White House counsel Alberto Gonzales obtained by NEWSWEEK. It urges President George Bush declare the war in Afghanistan, including the detention of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters, exempt from the provisions of the Geneva Convention.
In the memo, the White House lawyer focused on a little known 1996 law passed by Congress, known as the War Crimes Act, that banned any Americans from committing war crimes--defined in part as "grave breaches" of the Geneva Conventions. Noting that the law applies to "U.S. officials" and that punishments for violators "include the death penalty," Gonzales told Bush that "it was difficult to predict with confidence" how Justice Department prosecutors might apply the law in the future.
Rather than use the argument that has been since put forward by the likes of Senator Linday Graham, that granting Geneva protections to terrorist would "weaken Geneva" - Gonzales argued for a C.Y.A. approach to War Crimes.
The best way to guard against such "unwarranted charges," the White House lawyer concluded, would be for President Bush to stick to his decision--then being strongly challenged by Secretary of State Powell-- to exempt the treatment of captured Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters from Geneva convention provisions. "Your determination would create a reasonable basis in law that (the War Crimes Act) does not apply which would provide a solid defense to any future prosecution," Gonzales wrote.
Last week Democrats put forward two seperate non-binding Amendments for a timetable to drawdown our troops from Iraq. The Iraqi government has asked us to leave. Our own military commanders including General Casey have begun to draw up plans for our departure -- it's going to happen, one way or another. The only real question is whether the violence and strife which has been increasing while we have been in Iraq will continue or whether the removal of our forces will itself end the primary point of contention between these forces?
Naturally many Americans, particular after the Brutal murders of two U.S. Soldiers are not pleased by this idea. But how can we ignore the fact that this War was persued under false pretenses? That nothing that was argued as the justification for the War has panned out, even the arguement that we are their to "spread freedom" is undercut by the War's biggest cheerleaders when they simultaneously argue that "We Should Run Iraq the same way that Saddam did".
If there is no Amnesty for insurgents, shouldn't the Iraqi Government be able to put the Haditha Marines on trial? Do we really want that?
Let me restate: It's not our Country, and It's not our Civil War. Time has come for Iraqi soldiers and the Iraqi Government to grow up, stand up and start running their own show.
Even if they make decisions we don't neccesarily like. They aren't a puppet state of the U.S.
Or are they?