Earlier this week, Allied forces surrounded the city of Aleppo, Syria---the last major stronghold of Al-Qaeda and its affiliates in the region. President Bashir Assad then made a proclamation of a kind that no Western politician would ever make. Assad apprised the Jihadists in Aleppo that they were cut off; resistance was futile---and offered an amnesty to those who would surrender.
As of yesterday, hundreds of rebel soldiers have surrendered, including two entire towns in the Aleppo suburbs. Morale among the remaining Jihadists in Aleppo is reportedly extremely low, and Allied intelligence estimates many more will take advantage of Assad's offer.
This is not the first time this has happened in Syria. In 2015, ISIS forces surrendered Homs---a city of 2 million people---without firing a shot after Assad offered similar terms to those holding Aleppo. It speaks well of the character of President Assad, whom the US Government-Media Complex never speaks of except in the blackest terms. He empathizes even with those who fought against and seeks reconciliation over revenge. The typical Jihadist soldier, at this point in the war, probably enlisted believing himself part of an epic struggle in a holy crusade---only to discover that his leaders were a band of criminals, cutthroats, and cowards. To men like these, an amnesty is not only a way out of a hopeless situation, but an opportunity to acknowledge their wrongs and reintegrate into a society. Repentance and restitution, as we say in Christian terms; which is also a tenet of mainstream Islam.
In Postmodern America, however, we have become a nation of bullies whereby it is believed that utter destruction of an opponent with overwhelming force is the only desirable outcome. Following the terror attacks in Europe, there were American political and military pundits screaming (literally in some cases) for turning their cities to glass and carpet-bombing the whole region, and analogies were drawn between the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and the fire bombing of Dresden. "Oh, if we only had a real leader" (presumably meaning Trump whom these commentators all support), "somebody not afraid to use these weapons!"
It wasn't always this way in America, however. Amnesties have been offered before. Once upon a time, the US was noted for its magnanimity towards the defeated, and its desire for peaceful reconciliation. George Washington offered an amnesty to Tories after the War of Independence and after the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion. The Indian revolts in the War of 1812 were settled with amnesties. Lincoln used the amnesty often during the US Civil War, and we had the Marshall Plan and there were many other instances. Magnanimity is not a sign of weakness; it can only come from a position of strength.
These same pundits, however, justified their bloodlust by claiming that, "there are no innocents in these cities!" These hypocrites should look at pictures in the Arab media today of the non-innocents leaving Aleppo to shelter in the Displaced Persons' camps. Young widows carrying babies with two or three barefoot children following them, for example.
In related news today, the Allies reported that a Russian convoy carrying 39 tons of humanitarian aid reached Deir Ezzur, a city recently liberated from ISIS. Allied military engineers also report that the Qamishili Air Base is undergoing repairs after last week's terror attack; and the Humanitarian Air Bridge could resume shipments as early as next week.
And that shows the difference between our two cultures at this point in the 21st Century. One pops pills, flies into outrage, and demands blood, while the other defends and protects from a position of strength; and believes that converting an enemy is the highest form of victory.