Bloggers dissect Iraq's amnesty plan for militants and laugh it up over a Home Drug Depot story. They also fume—or gloat—about wasted Katrina relief monies.
Time off for bad behavior: The Washington Post (note: Slate is owned by the same parent company) reported Thursday on Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's floated plan for offering amnesty to violent Sunni Arab rejectionists willing to lay down their arms. Maliki told a press pool in Baghdad that those "who weren't involved in the shedding of Iraqi blood" may be eligible for a state pardon. However, the problematic words in this statement seem to have been "Iraqi blood." An aide to the premier—since dismissed from office—has argued that former attackers and murderers of U.S. troops would also qualify. Congress is roiled in debate about the subject, and so is cyberspace.
Conservative Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters reluctantly accepts the amnesty plan: "We can demand that Mailiki rescind the offer, but a refusal would only burnish his credentials as an independent leader. In fact, we should protest to give him that chance. I would like nothing more that to see the cowards hand from the nearest gallows, but insisting on that point would likely make almost everyone ineligible for the amnesty." At irishpennants.com Jack Kelly, a national security writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and former Reagan administration official, writes: "I think a distinction can and should be made between Iraqis who were fighting against invading U.S. forces, and those who have been participating in the resistance since an Iraqi provisional government has been formed. But all the Democrats who went before the cameras yesterday advocate cutting and running for Iraq. This would go beyond amnesty for insurgents. It is tantamount to putting them in charge. That's the real hypocrisy."
Donald Sensing at the leftist humanitarian Winds of Change compares Maliki's proposal to that of Lincoln at the close of the Civil War, whereupon wide swathes of Confederate soldiers were forgiven their sorties against the Union. Sensing's only hiccup is that "it's yet to be stated how an amnesty applicant can prove he attacked only Americans, or whether a simple declaration will suffice. The amnesty proposal specifically does not cover criminal activity and explicitly does not include anyone who killed or wounded any Iraqi, whether civilian or not." "Urthwalker" at the progressive Hindsight Factor offers more historical perspective:"The granting of amnesty in the face of atrocity is not without precedent. Those who lived through Apartheid might recall the resounding success of Desmond Tutu's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in helping to create a stable and peaceful environment in which to move South Africa forward into an integrated society... As with the TRC, this proposal cannot be offered without conditions, and must be painstakingly constructed in a way that provides a healing path for Iraq's future."
AJ of lefty AMERICAblog is against the idea because, as he suggests, "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.' "
Read more about Iraq's amnesty plan.
Not a crack house, a crack Home Depot: Two Home Depot outlets in Massachusetts are being investigated after a few customers purchased vanities stuffed with drugs. One plumber (whose union breaks are bound to grow interminable now) discovered 3 kilos of cocaine and 40 pounds of pot with an estimated street value of $250,000.
Jon Petitt of city-centric blog The Bostonist gets the ball rolling, so to speak: "No doubt that there could be a few very happy customers of Home Depot that haven't quite finished their bathroom renovation projects because they, um, got distracted."
Frick at Frick's World has the customer-satisfaction scenario down: "Dudes wife has probably been nagging him for the last month or so to finally finish his week-end bathroom re-modeling project. Dude drags himself out of the comfortable recliner and heads to Homey D. Dude picks out any old vanity and drags it to the register, then drags it to the car, then drags it into the house and then finally drags it into the bathroom where lo' and behold he finds $145,000.00 worth of dope. Talk about getting your wife off of your case, dude has hit the matrimonial lottery." All that "Beach House Mike" at lex icon is missing is the all-foyer spec house: "As Arlo Guthrie used to say, if it happens three times, they may think it's an organization. And if it happens 50 times, they may think it's a movement. Applying that logic, getting six figures worth of street drugs by buying a wrapped bathroom vanity at a Home Depot has reached the organizational stage."
Read more about the furniture mules at Home Depot.
Carnival comes early: Debit cards distributed to Katrina victims last August were used to buy porn, divorces, diamonds, and at least one sex change, according to a recent audit by the Government Accountability Office. As much as $1 billion in FEMA bailout funds became ill-spent gains by particularly enterprising residents of the Big Easy.
Chris Martel at Metroblogging New Orleans is one of the chief fritterers: "You know what I spent my FEMA money on? A laptop, booze, eating out, music, seersucker suits, etc. Luxuries. Friends spent it on flying V guitars, drugs, etc. Note that I did not ask FEMA for $2,000, nor did I ask for the subsequent $2,300 in rental assistance. In fact, I was living rent free and still being paid by my employer the entire time, but they still put the cash directly into my bank account. You think I'm gonna return that money? Hell no."
"We're just disappointed the [Government Accountability Office] doesn't think 'Girls Gone Wild' videos are an appropriate form of disaster relief" is the more-in-mild-amusement-than-anger response from AMC Sholty at the multi-interest site Words Fail Me, Yet I Plod On.
Read more about Katrina funds funneled into no-good uses.