The Taliban, the Hawks and the Biden “Gaffe”

Mick Zano

The plan in Afghanistan, even under General Stanley McChrystal, was to reach out to the moderate brand of the Taliban and bring them back to the table. This has been the “the plan” since, umm, ever. So, we finally start to implement the thing and everyone goes ape shit? Attacking moderate and radical Muslims alike, as they represent approximately a third of the planet, is madness…or, as I like to call it, modern conservatism. This route will surely find us all committed to a Santorium somewhere. Sorry, Rick. Your turn.

This is where the Republicans need the likes of Christopher Hitchens on their side. Unfortunately, Hitchens always balked at any truce with the Taliban, but, at this point, most strategists are of one voice on this matter (which is two less than Michele Bachmann is hearing at any given time).

Here’s what Vice President Joe Biden said last week about the Taliban:

“The militant Islamist group only represents an inherent threat if it allows Al-Qaeda to strike at the U.S.”

And during an interview with Newsweek, Biden warned against “labeling the Taliban as an enemy.”

Oh, the horror. They’re couldn’t possibly be some good and some bad Taliban, given that it’s a major faction in Afghanistan. After all, we are team binary; good or evil; you’re with us or against us; Fox News talking point or Satan worship.

Even our generals on the ground have been talking about the need for a political solution for many many years. There is no ‘military only’ solution, period. Most have come to the realization moderate Taliban members must be approached…er, especially the ones who score me my shit.

“Western diplomats in Kabul said that even under the Bush administration, the United States had grown more receptive to the idea of talking to the Taliban.”

Carlotta Gall, New York Times

Admittedly, most Middle Easterners are more tribal or fundamentalist than we’d like. Of course, most Conservatives are a little more tribal or fundamentalist than I would like, so deal. The Arab Spring will likely see a resurgence of Sharia Law, as the dictators we propped up fall to Islamic Brotherhood types. This is inevitable. These countries and their people need to grow up and that’s not going to be a pleasant process. But they have to do the growing—forcing their hand is a fool’s errand, or, as I call it, modern conservatism (it’s such a big tent these days, from the misinformed all the way to the sickeningly greedy).

Let’s see, setting up petty dictators failed, removing said dictators failed, occupying them failed, bombing them failed, and nation building failed…umm, let’s take a little pill from Ron Paul’s medicine cabinet, shall we? He’s in New Hampshire, so it’s probably unattended. Oh that’s right, he’s the one who’s nuts. Riiiiiigght. Less is more in these situations. So what does the right want to do? Hire Rick I-want-to-push-the red-button-already Santorum. Onward Christian soldier! Don’t even get me started. I lived in PA while the Rickster voted with George W. Bush 99% of the time…for his entire senatorial tenure! I think the one time he broke from Bush was the one time Bush was right about something. Now what was that again? Hmmm. I’ll have to get back to you.

Whereas I am all for continuing to attack those who pose a clear and present danger to America, I am not going to condone this broader stroke approach so prevalent in Foxsylvania. If we follow the hawk’s lead, it will once again end any chance for moderate thought to take hold (pretty much anywhere we intervene). When General McChrystal said, nearly a decade into the war, we have a presence in about 1 of 100 valleys in Afghanistan, umm, that should have been your first clue this mission was going to be Mission Tom Cruisable. It’s been about as effective as Alan Colmes trying to hook up at the Fox Christmas party—though it was priceless when Megyn Kelly stood up and slapped him in the face. Next time he’ll say Merry Christmas, not happy holidays, the heathen. That’ll learn em’.

Sorry, but a hundred year war will not go over horribly well with the American people or their bank accounts. But what could possibly go wrong trying to nation build in the Graveyard of Empires? What next, the Necropolis of Nations? The GOP, flat-lining our way to Freedom!

Even Bush understood this! Eventually, well…during his lucid moments, after his meds and before nap time. But Bush’s initial strategy in the Land of the Lost had the effect of driving any moderate Taliban factions underground. Where I believe they then formed a sinister alliance with the Morlocks and the CHUDs!

“Afraid of ‘death or Guantanamo,’ some moderates concluded they had no alternative but to return to Mullah Omar. With the war ongoing, he contends, the Taliban as expanded its original commitments to ‘sharia, security and territorial integrity,’ to encompass an international dimension including demands that the U.S. leave Saudi Arabia.”

Guardian.co.uk, Thursday 2 December 2010

The Guardian doesn’t mention the CHUDs or the Morlocks, but they’re implied. Isn’t it amazing how you can deny the existence of something that you’ve chased to the brink of extinction? Speaking of which, beer in my fridge…what beer in my fridge?

“Reconcilees represent a silent majority in the Taliban who simply want to end the war, and had publicly accepted the constitution though they would favor amendments to enhance the constitutional role of Islam; — Negotiations, reconciliation and restoration of security can and should be followed by elections, and some ex-Taliban would like to be candidates. — Only when key moderates are removed from the 1267 List will they have the credibility needed to convince insurgents they can guarantee agreements they broker with Karzai or the international community.”

And, from the same UK summary of the war:

“The U.S. must identify who within the Taliban is moderate or amenable to dialogue, and work with them to seek peace and agree on how Afghanistan is to be governed.”

Guardian.co.uk, Thursday 2 December 2010

Obama is going to reach out to moderate Muslims, because it’s the only strategy that has a prayer-rug of working, not to mention it’s the right thing to do. Santorum calls this line of reasoning treasonous, because it’s logical, cheaper, and more prone to generate results (aka, 0 for 3 for the GOP). Not many Republicans are likely to understand this approach, but this President has proven that doing the smart thing is much more effective than whatever the hell the right wants to do. He’s using Bush’s expansion of executive power effectively. I wish last week he’d rolled back provisions of the Patriot Act, but I knew he wouldn’t…no one likely ever will. This was predictable, er….which is why I predicted it back in 2008. And the Foxeteers all supported, because you’re such “patriots.”

The Discord, as usual, sums it up nicely:

2012: The Choice between Smart Unconstitutional Power, or Incompetent Unconstitutional Power
2012: The Choice between Smart Unconstitutional Power, or Incompetent Unconstitutional Power

I have been generally silent on the war in Afghanistan, because I don’t know what the hell we’re going to accomplish over there and, frankly, never have. I am also very concerned about the distribution of opium for “personal reasons.” I have suggested a move to predator drones and an intelligence angle on the “War on Error” from the beginning. I always frowned upon nation building anywhere…but I do see why you thought occupying the Crypt of Countries was a swell idea. Those who wanted both land wars are the same people suggesting we continue with Bush’s failed economic policies. It’s the same people bitching the loudest about how broken our economy is. It’s the same people heading to New Hampshire right now on the short bus to Freedom!

It’s time, once again, for what many hail as the chart of the year:

It’s the Policies, Stupid
It’s the Policies, Stupid

Funny how I have always blamed Democrats for about a third of the problem and, lo and behold, check out the graph again. It’s the two thirds—the choice part—that should bother us all. $5.07 trillion attributed to Bush’s policies and $1.44 attributed to Obama’s. Our current President’s only choice was “depression now” or “depression later.” This chart sums it up nicely, so you can distort the truth all you want by repeating the words Obama’s deficit and Obama’s spending, until the pundits come home, but that’s not the whole story—it’s a third of the story; the only third you’re permitted to comment on.

Could Obama have immediately stopped both wars? the Bush tax cuts? the unfunded Medicare drug supplemental program? It would have been nice, but then there’s that Republican “patriotic” opposition again.

As for the war, the hawks and neocons had over a decade to win Afghanistan, yet we’re so far from mission accomplished even Bush would hesitate to raise a banner. The double dip recession will get our troops home soon enough, but what a way to do it. This is one point where the late great Christopher Hitchens was wrong. This battle for a higher consciousness—his battle against totalitarian thought—blinded him to how best to bring about such a victory. The health of our economy is inexplicably linked to our security. We seem to be content on having neither.

As I have said all along, the war will be won or lost by the Muslim people themselves. If we’re not careful our actions will only exacerbate the situation. All the military interventions in the world are not going to help the situation (see Iraq), especially if one adds the words incompetently, or Republican President to the mix. There are so many other countries falling under the dark shadow of radical Islam that other non-military solutions must be doggedly pursued. We can help the people of each country grow, or we can foment hatred; the choice has never been clearer.

Nah, just kidding, let’s occupy, bomb, nation-build, and set up a petty dictator! Hooray for the hawks!

Santorum/Bachmann 2012

Blessed are the Nukes

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Mick Zano

Mick Zano

Mick Zano is the Head Comedy Writer and co-founder of The Daily Discord. He is the Captain of team Search Truth Quest and is currently part of the Witness Protection Program. He is being strongly advised to stop talking any further about this, right now, and would like to add that he is in no way affiliated with the Gambinonali crime family. 

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