I’ve been rather amused at the idea floated by a few Republicans here and some Iraqis over there of amnesty for insurgents in Iraq if they agree to quit fighting. The reason I find it funny is that there are conditions: the insurgents, to be eligible for amnesty, can't have hurt anyone. Juan Cole says it better than I can:
The amnesty is not extended to anyone who has "shed Iraqi blood," and the Bush administration made al-Maliki back off the idea of granting amnesty to guerrillas who had killed US troops.Exactly!
But if the point of the amnesty is to bring the guerrilla leadership in from the cold, this amnesty is useless. What Sunni Arab guerrillas worth their salt have killed no Iraqis and no US troops? As for the rest, why would Sunnis who had not killed anyone need to be amnestied? And wouldn't they be rather pitiful guerrillas?
Amnesty may or may not be a way to bring peace in Iraq (I think not) but amnesty with these conditions makes no sense.
Perhaps we could do something like that here. Amnesty for all tax cheats with the stipulation they don’t owe any taxes.