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 and Incompetent Unconstitutional Power
I have been largely 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.