June 28, 2006

"Patriotic" Murders

Several days ago, I wrote a piece titled, "The Amnesty Question: We Are Not the Good Guys in Iraq." As I explained, I was intentionally provocative because of the widespread refusal to recognize fully the immoral, unjustifiable nature of our invasion and occupation of Iraq. When it comes to the most difficult questions, most Americans refuse to acknowledge the criminally and profoundly immoral nature of our actions. They will not give up their fantasy of America as the last, best hope for mankind. No matter the degree of non-defensive destruction and mayhem we ourselves unleash, we "meant well." Our murders are redeemed by our intentions, a dispensation we do not, of course, grant to anyone else at all.

On the issue of amnesty, consider some remarks from Medea Benjamin and Raed Jarrar:
The Iraqi reconciliation plan unveiled by Prime Minister Al-Maliki on Sunday had the potential to mark a turning point the in the war. But thanks to U.S. interference, instead of a road map for peace, the plan that emerged looks more like a bump in Iraq's torturous path to continued violence and suffering.


[T]wo of the most critical aspects of the reconciliation plan discussed with the insurgents—the withdrawal of U.S. troops and amnesty for Iraqis who fought soldiers but not Iraqi civilians—were abandoned under intense U.S. pressure. The result is a weak plan that will probably not entice a significant number of fighters to lay down their weapons.

The withdrawal of U.S. forces is key to any peace plan, and is supported by the majority of Iraqis. A poll taken by World Public Opinion earlier this year showed 87% of the general population favoring a set timeline for U.S. withdrawal.


The other critical area watered down by the hose of U.S. political pressure regards amnesty. The original concept was a broad amnesty for fighters and detainees who have not “shed the blood of Iraqi civilians.” Those who attacked soldiers, whether Iraqi or American soldiers, would be pardoned for their resistance to occupation, while those who attacked civilians would not be. But the final document was more ambiguous. It called for amnesty "for those not proven involved in crimes, terrorist activities and war crimes against humanity."

Without an explicit amnesty for those who took up arms against U.S soldiers, whom they considered foreign invaders, there is no chance of stopping the violence. Unfortunately, it is the Democratic leaders in Congress who have been leading the charge against amnesty, introducing an amendment against it in the Senate even before the plan was released. Sen. Carl Levin, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, told Fox News Sunday that, "The idea that they should even consider talking about amnesty for people who have killed people who liberated their country is unconscionable.” What is unconscionable is for Democrats to use amnesty as a political club to beat up the Bush administration in a "we’re-more-patriotic-than-you-are" election season game, instead of recognizing it as a necessary component any serious peace plan.
A note to Senator Levin: we were not asked to "liberate their country." Saddam was a brutal, loathsome dictator -- but Iraq was not a threat to us, so it was none of our business. Moreover, we have "liberated" an entire country into hell on earth -- a hell so awful that some Iraqis wish only for the return of Saddam himself. Well done, Senator.

One of the most damning criticisms of the Bush administration offered by many liberals and progressives, including many bloggers, is that the administration sees the Iraq catastrophe only in terms of what it means for domestic politics. The large-scale death and destruction -- not only of an entire country and of individual Iraqis, but of American military personnel -- do not exist for the administration except insofar as they serve their political aims. It is an accurate criticism -- and it is indeed a very damning one.

It is a measure of the foul corruption that has thoroughly saturated American culture and politics that when we come to what could be critical turning points in this monumental disaster and to moments where we might begin to find a way out, many of those same liberals and progressives, and many of the same bloggers, do precisely the same thing. Ruined lives and maimed bodies, destruction without even a moment of reprieve, a catastrophe that stretches endless years into the future -- all of it is fodder to be used for political advantage, because Democrats think they can use the amnesty question to embarrass the Republicans and to make Democrats appear to be more "patriotic" and more genuinely "American."

This is the politics of the gutter. It is despicable beyond anyone's ability to describe accurately. Shame on them, every single one. I wrote an essay recently about the value of a single human life. Not one of these people understands what I was talking about or, if they do, they ignore all such concerns, thus earning their damnation in a still worse way -- merely because they seek the easiest, cheapest, most dishonest means of electoral advantage.

This is the state of our politics today, and this is the face we present to the world. May God have mercy on us -- not that we deserve it, which we most assuredly do not.

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