The plan: pardon some of the insurgents who killed or wounded American soldiers. The Washington Post is reporting today:
"Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Wednesday proposed a limited amnesty to help end the Sunni Arab insurgency as part of a national reconciliation plan that Maliki said would be released within days. The plan is likely to include pardons for those who had attacked only U.S. troops, a top adviser said."
Surely the Bush Administration must be opposed to this. Insurgents -- "the terrorists" -- set free to perhaps kill again? No way President Bush likes this idea. No.
Q: What are your feelings about discussions in the new Iraqi government of amnesty for insurgents?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes -- I talked to the Prime Minister about -- his question is, possible amnesty. The Prime Minister I think would say "reconciliation." This is an issue that is on the minds of a lot of the folks there in Iraq. In other words, they're trying to figure out how to reconcile an ugly past with a hopeful future. And part of that is reconciliation.
One of the things I was looking for was -- first of all, I'm convinced this government will succeed. And one of the reasons I am is because there is a sense of hopefulness. If you're a person stuck in the past, you tend to be bitter and look for ways to seek revenge.
Gregory, fine-looking scarf -- not scarf, what do you call that thing?"
Here's the translation: "Pardoning insurgents is cool but whatever, just so long as Karl's free and I got my photo-op. And Gregory has a scarf. I call him Scarfy! Eh-eh-eh-eh!"
This is the same man who presided over the execution of at least five retarded people in Texas and now he's so focussed on shaping the public perception of the Iraq War, he's willing to sell out the lives of dead and wounded American soldiers.
Bring 'em on has become Turn 'em loose.
There's more. In the president's opening statement yesterday, he detailed this reconciliation plan but, based on his words, what kind of average American listening to the president would know that this plan includes freeing insurgents:
"Prime Minister Maliki is promoting reconciliation among the Iraqi people. And during my discussions with his cabinet and others, the concept of reconciliation kept coming up. People know they've got to reconcile the past in order to have a bright future. He told us he's going to soon appoint a reconciliation committee that will focus on resolving specific concerns of different Iraqi communities. We will support his efforts to bring the Iraqis together by encouraging leaders from countries like South Africa to share their experiences with this new government, to help them reconcile the past."
When I heard this section of the president's press conference yesterday, I had no idea that "reconciliation" meant "amnesty" and that "amnesty" referred to insurgents who, in some cases, attacked American soldiers. That's the whole idea, obviously, of using the word "reconciliation". Al-Maliki's White House handlers have taught him the fine art of deliberately deceptive language, a la "Clear Skies" and "Help America Vote". Besides, can you imagine the president telling the press, "We will support his efforts to pardon insurgents who killed our soldiers."
It all comes right back to the defining principle of the Bush Administration and the congressional Republicans: politics trumps everything. The only reason they could ever possibly support something this ridiculous is to keep up the guise that the Iraqi government and the nation as a whole is stable, sweet-smelling, and hunky-dory.
If the president had returned from his photo-op and told the press, "They're going to pardon insurgents who killed Americans. Next question -- Stretch!" the whole idea of the trip would've been entirely negated and instead of fashioning some false hope about Iraq, they'd shoot themselves in the foot -- like always.
But it happened anyway. We have the president on the record saying that he supports al-Maliki's plan to free some of the insurgents who killed our boys, just so long as Karl Rove can provide the president with some false political momentum.