When I read this on Today in Iraq, I knew I had to ask Cervantes to let me post it here. It is an argument that is seldom articulated, and one too easily forgotten in the mess that this illegal, misguided war has become. My thanks to Cervantes and Today in Iraq for granting permission.
I’m going to do something we seldom do here [on “Today in Iraq,” that is], and that is to make an extended personal statement — the reason being that the available reporting on this is so warped that I can’t let it stand on its own. The discussion, both here and in Iraq, over Maliki’s suggestion of a possible amnesty for resistance fighters who have attacked occupation forces, has been truly Orwellian. People in the U.S., including I am sorry to say much of the Democratic congressional delegation and a good part of the liberal blogosphere and chattering classes, apparently do not understand that the United States attacked and invaded Iraq. The Iraqi army fought back. Ultimately much of it went underground and continued to fight in guerilla mode. There has been no peace settlement. In fact, although as far as I know nobody has pointed this out, the government of Iraq never surrendered.
When a war ends and a peace treaty is signed, combatants return to home, and POWs are released. People who fight against foreign invaders are not terrorists, criminals, or murderers. Obviously, if the new Iraqi government ever wishes to end the insurgency and establish a true national unity government, it must come to agreement with the resistance and bring it into the political structure.
This Washington Post story tells the bizarre story of Maliki trying to maneuver between reality and his American masters. On Wednesday, he gave a press conference, in Arabic, which was televised, at which he said, “reconciliation could include an amnesty for those ‘who weren’t involved in the shedding of Iraqi blood. Also, it includes talks with the armed men who opposed the political process and now want to turn back to political activity.'” Yesterday, he fired an aide who had, in essence, repeated Maliki’s own words to reporters, saying “Mr. Adnan Kadhimi doesn’t represent the Iraqi government in this issue, and Mr. Kadhimi is not an adviser or spokesman for the prime minister. It is not true what some of the media outlets, including The Washington Post, have said about the willingness of the Iraqi government to talk with armed groups.” Not true, except that Maliki said it himself, on television.
Meanwhile, back in the U.S.A., in the warped Congressional debate on Iraq staged by the Republicans, Republican Senators defended the amnesty idea – which I suppose they have to do since the administration line is that the new Iraq government is sovereign and legitimate — while Democrats and their supporters attack them for supporting amnesty for “terrorists” who have “murdered” American forces “serving heroically in Iraq to provide all Iraqis a better future.” Listen folks — get this straight. It’s a war. That’s what happens in wars, people try to kill each other. If Iraqi resistance fighters who attack U.S. forces are terrorists and murderers, then by the precise same standard, U.S. troops in Iraq are terrorists who have murdered tens of thousands of Iraqis. You can’t have it both ways.
Cervantes (of Today in Iraq)