Should the US military offer immunity to members of terrorist groups?

Why not?  It’s been done before.

Specifically, the US military eventually used this approach in response to the gruesome massacre of civilians in Lawrence, Kansas on 21 August 1863, the largest mass murder of unarmed American civilians on US soil prior to the attacks of 11 September 2001. This massacre–and many other murders and robberies–were carried out by irregular insurgents known as “bushwhackers” during and after the Civil War. Missouri in particular was plagued by bushwhackers, who continued to kill and rob innocents even after the close of the Civil War. But as James P. Muehlberger notes on page 47 of his recent book The Lost Cause: The Trials of Frank and Jesse James, Union General Grenville Dodge decided to respond to this pro-Rebel insurgency by offering full amnesty under military law for the bushwhackers if they would agree to lay down their arms, an offer that was promptly accepted by many of the former rebels.

So, prior probability wonders out loud why the US military doesn’t try this soft approach in the “war on terror”. Instead of commando raids or drone strikes, let’s offer known terrorists full legal immunity from prosecution in exchange for giving up violence …

What do you think?

About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
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