Why Would GOP Allow Amnesty For Iraqi Killers, But Not Immigrants?
Today, it has been reported that the Iraq war and occupation has cost America its 2,500th military fatality. On this day, the House GOP leadership is trying to flog the Democrats with a resolution whose sole purpose is to force the Democrats into either voting against it and then being castigated as weak on terror and masters of “cut and run” war fighting (this coming from many in the GOP who have never seen combat themselves), or voting for it and affirming a link between Saddam and 9/11 while cutting off future support for any deviation from Bush’s “stay forever” strategy.
Yet Majority Leader Boehner’s craven attempt to politicize the war at a time when the public is weary of it is breaking the GOP caucus, where possibly a dozen GOP representatives are against what Boehner is doing. Furthermore, the debate has already blown up in Boehner’s face this morning when it was revealed that Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki, as a unification gambit, is planning on offering amnesty to insurgents if they lay down their arms and join the government, but only to insurgents who have killed Americans. This has drawn deep and legitimate opposition from several GOP representatives in the House, who chafe at the idea that our government is supporting an Iraqi leadership that would bring the killers of our troops into their government. Even though I understand why al-Maliki would do this, the problem for Bush is that his praise for him and the way forward is now running into the reality of what the occupation has sown and what al-Maliki needs to do. But this is the issue the Democrats need to flog over these next two day in counterweight to the Boehner resolution. Why did our troops die so that their killers could not only escape justice, but to join the government overseeing their presence?
But this also leads to a fundamental question: why would the same House GOP that is opposed to what they call amnesty for illegal immigrants turn around and accept amnesty for those who have killed American troops? The House GOP is being grossly inconsistent here, and is displaying questionable values if they feel that purported amnesty for illegal immigrants must be opposed at all costs, while amnesty for insurgents who kill Americans gets a pass just because Bush wants full support for the new government.
Moreover, if the GOP even grudgingly accepts what al-Maliki is proposing, then they are also acknowledging that we are in an illegal occupation, where the killing of the occupiers is considered an acceptable act of resistence by folks Rummy originally called terrorists.
Bush, for his part, is back in war campaign mode, basking in a media-built glow from the killing of al-Zarqawi and his surprise visit to Baghdad to express unyielding support for the new government and staying as long as Bush sees fit. The White House is on a roll and aiming all of its efforts into convincing the media and the American voters this fall that Iraq will be a noble, victorious effort if only we stay the course. The media is playing along again, giving blanket coverage of his press conferences as if there is real news happening, with Fox in effect questioning the patriotism of reporters who dare ask challenging questions. The White House is using the same techniques that were used to sell us this war by the White House Iraq Group, strategic communication and disinformation, planting stories and shaping the coverage and framing. Note that the daily briefings from Baghdad have resumed.
The Pentagon is supplying the GOP leadership with all of their talking points, making arguments that we cannot leave Iraq without it becoming a haven for terrorists. Of course the GOP doesn’t want to admit that Iraq already is such a haven, as a result of their botched occupation.
We are told about all of the raids conducted in Iraq using intelligence gathered from al-Zarqawi, and are once again being provided with body counts of how many have been captured. Yet no one has noticed, as retired Colonel Sam Gardiner has, that the “document” or blueprint allegedly retrieved after al-Zarqawi was killed appears to be a forgery, something that Gardiner thinks was written by the American military’s PR people similar to what was done to sell us the war in the first place. So the campaign to sell us the need for a fraudulent war is now being repeated to sell us on the need to stay the course towards Victory in Iraq.
The reason for this is simple: Bush now has no plan whatsoever to draw down troops in Iraq, regardless of the political cost to the GOP this fall, because he is convinced that he can win in Iraq now. So the media campaign is being built to convince the public that Iraq is getting better and that the GOP needs to stay in charge to see it through. What appeared three weeks ago to be an Iraqi desire to assume more and more control this year has been plowed under by Bush’s determination to prove he was right and can win this war. Unlike three weeks ago, the Iraqi leadership according to the New York Times’ John Burns now tells journalists that they want the United States to stay in their country. What has changed, aside from the renewed Bush effort to prove he was right?
We are going to be in Iraq, at these numbers, well into 2007, regardless of what the Iraqis really want and regardless of what our military can handle because George W. Bush is determined to show everyone that they are wrong and he was correct all along. This is something that the GOP will have to deal with this fall, and the Democrats need to handle the renewed sales job from the White House and attack where they can, especially by questioning why we are still in-country supporting a government that is legitimatizing the killers of our troops. And they should also zing James Sensenbrenner, Tom Tancredo, and the rest of the anti-immigrant crowd why the GOP would support amnesty for the killers of our troops but not for immigrants.