Tuesday, February 22, 2005

It Is OK to Divide Our Enemies

Ledeen is upset that we may be negotiating to split the terrorists and siphon off some of the insurgents:
It is therefore utterly disgusting to hear reports that our diplomats and military leaders are tiptoeing up to terrorist leaders in Syria, trying to make a deal. It is hard to imagine anything more dreadful or wrongheaded than this, and it was good to hear Ahmed Chalabi on Sunday saying that the new government of Iraq would not make deals with killers who were murdering Iraqis.

Cheery souls will say, with some reason, that there is a fragment of light in the dark picture of our feckless diplomats and commanders negotiating with our murderers. That fragment is the desperate cunning of the terrorists, trying to fool us and thereby buying time. They may even have been trotted out by the murderous fool Bashar Assad, who must fear retribution for the assassination of Hariri in Beirut.

But this is no time for clever negotiation. The tide is turning, of which the most dramatic evidence is the newfound bravado of the oppressed peoples, from Baghdad to Beirut. It is our tide, a tide of freedom, and we must ride it with all our skill and determination. Let the mullahs and the Assads play King Canute; we're leading the revolution that will wash clean their filthy domains.

I see no problem with talking if we can split the opposition. As long as we do not engage in the folly of having ceasefires while we talk, negotiations to get those less committed to come in from the cold and turn on their more vicious allies are just fine.

Once Iraq is quieter and the Iraqis are in control, they can revisit the guilt of those who stop fighting before they are killed. Surely, their conduct and the quality of the information they provide after coming in will be a large factor in what their future will be.

I've said this for a long time, our goal is to end the insurgency (and by "our" I mean the Coalition, including the Iraqs, which should rely less and less on our forces) and not to kill every last insurgent. Some need to die or rot in jail. But others can be used to help kill those who need to die.

Nor does this mean we ignore the wider threats. We do what we can, when we can.

UPDATE: Via Instpundit, the Afghan government's ability to get the deadenders to give up rather than kill every last one of them may pay off.