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Iraq's amnesty plan endangers American troops. Period.

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The reported Iraqi plan to give amnesty to insurgents (read: terrorists, at least according to Bush) who have attacked and killed US troops defies comprehension. Reports indicated that there was a plan to release detainees suspected of attacking U.S. forces, as long as they hadn't targeted Iraqis. The source for this reporting was a "top adviser" to Prime Minister Maliki.

But now the Washington Post reports that the adviser who made those statements has resigned! Maliki has issued a statement saying that the adviser was not speaking for his administration, which is a highly unusual rebuke, and he appears to be backtracking on the plan.

Except that in the meantime, while everybody thought the reported plan had the blessing of Maliki, Republicans jumped all over themselves to support the pardoning of insurgents who attacked Coalition forces. This is what happens when a party's congressional leaders can't think for themselves. When they're people who take direction from Dear Leader without any kind of cognitive process. When they think running Congress simply means picking up and running with any bad plan the big guy gives them. Democrats are screaming about it, and rightly so.

But aside from the astonishing heartlessness and political stupidity of Republicans who immediately embraced this imbecilic plan, amnesty for anti-Coalition fighters endangers U.S. troops. How do we reconcile releasing people who have killed U.S. forces in the past with arresting and detaining those who do it in the future? "Sorry, Joe Insurgent, but you missed amnesty by a day. If you had only blown up that tank yesterday you could go free, but instead it's off to Abu Ghraib." And any such precedent sets up a situation in which the Iraqi government will constantly be using this as a card to play in negotiations. Negotiations with "terrorists." Something I thought we didn't do.

Under some circumstances amnesty is understandable, even beneficial. Most notably in a cease-fire agreement. But you can't have a government that both asks America to keep our troops there AND tells its people that it's okay to kill our troops. How is it possible that there are Republicans who don't understand that?

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