Angling for Amnesty on ABC's 'This Week'
On the roundtable of Sunday's edition of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," Newsweek columnist and Newsweek International editor Fareed Zakaria declared he was going to say "something controversial," that he favored amnesty for Iraqi insurgents. ABC White House correspondent Martha Raddatz said she didn't see why that was controversial, just a required step. When Stephanopoulos suggested amnesty "makes sense," CNN anchor Lou Dobbs said the idea "sticks in my craw."
Zakaria knows the idea is "controversial" because it will rub the American public the wrong way, but also because the Democrats on television (like Sen. Durbin minutes earlier on "This Week") have made a strong pose against amnesty for insurgents. Here's how it unfolded, as the segment began:
Stephanopoulos: But most provocatively, Fareed, this provision for amnesty. The Senators, very clear, they're against it.
Zakaria: Yeah, it's a very bold move by Maliki, if it actually includes amnesty. I'm going to say something controversial and say it has to include amnesty for insurgents. Look, much as we grieve for any American who has lost his life, any family member who has lost a loved one, the reality is what you need to end an insurgency is a political track. The political track has to try to bring in people who have been fighting against the government. If you don't have an amnesty for insurgents, who by definition have attacked Iraqi or American forces, who is the amnesty for? Shoplifters and carjackers?
Stephanopoulos: Famously said, you don't make peace with your friends, you make peace with your enemies. So what Fareed's saying makes sense, doesn't it?
Dobbs: It makes sense but unfortunately it seems more like a policy for extrication rather than a political resolution because the insurgents in my opinion, whether amnesty or not, still have a political and ideological motive which I don't see subsiding because of amnesty. And the idea of amnesty for those who've killed American soldiers sticks in my craw.
Stephanopoulos: So how do the Iraqis work their way through this? They clearly aren't going to be able to say openly because of the position of the United States and many here in the United States that there’s an amnesty for the insurgents. Yet practically, they're going to have to deliver it, aren't they?
Raddatz: They're going to have to deliver it. And look at the history of warfare, anyway. This happens all the time. The history of our own country in the Civil War. There are things that you don't really want to do and you hold your nose and you go towards reconciliation. Fareed says his statement is controversial. I don't know how else you do this. I don't know how else you approach it. And the other thing is, how are you going to figure out who are the insurgents who have been involved in terrorists [sic]? Who are the insurgents who haven't been involved in terrorists? How do you move forward without offering some sort of amnesty and moving on? Lou might be right. They certainly have a political agenda to go forward here. But if you don't start somewhere, if you don't appease some of the insurgents then I don't know how you go forward.
Zakaria: Look, if you look at the IRA, you know, when the Brits started making moves to talk politically to them, at the end of the day what they were doing is offering amnesty to people who had killed British government forces. It's very sad and, as you say, unpleasant to say, Martha, but that is the nature of this kind of two-track policy. Militarily tough but opening up a political channel.
Stephanopoulos: How about the overall situation right now? This week was a pretty momentous week in Iraq and here in the United States. We had the Senate debate. We had, you know, at latest count at least 15 more American soldiers killed. And the reports we're getting out of Baghdad this morning, Martha, are bombs basically across Baghdad, at least 20 injured. Is this the last chance for Maliki?
Now that's just comical. Maliki's been in office like three or four weeks, and Stephanopulos is pushing the idea that he's having his "last chance"?? How would George have felt if after his first three weeks as Clinton press secretary, the Sunday shows were all asking if it was Clinton's last chance?
Zakaria also opposed the Democrats by calling their troop "redeployment" proposals an "irresponsible policy," and he was just getting started:
Democrats are feeling essentially buyer's remorse at having voted for the war. They're feeling guilty and they're trying to find some way to extricate themselves. But whatever you felt about the war, this government, our government has made solemn commitments to a foreign people. It's not going well but you can't - this is not a TV show. You can't just turn it off because you don't like the way it's going. I mean this [This Week] is a TV show.