Via International Herald Tribune: U.S. Senate majority leader calls for efforts to bring Taliban into Afghan government.
Boy, this is going to hurt...
I'm going to have to go out to the workshop, put my hand in the vise, and saw it off with a hack saw after I type this (with one hand, so I have one left): I agree with Bill "I Heart Kitties" Frist.
Of course, whenever anyone in the GOP shows the slightest glimmer of rational thought, foresight, or moderation is just asking for the right wing blog jackals move in for the kill. The wailing and gnashing is deafening right now between Foley's email, Rice's memory, and Hastert's bumbling. They see Frist's trial balloon as a betrayal of the victims of 9/11, cowardly capitulation to terrorists, etc, etc...
Wait. You don't mean to tell me some of you Democrats and Independents agree with them, do you? Aw, Jeez...
OK. What do most Americans want for American foreign policy?
For it to based on reality, not fantasy, not false information, and not wishful thinking. Well, the simple reality is that the we can't defeat the Taliban militarily: probably never could, certainly never did. All those rosy estimates of how we 'won' in the 'good' Afghani war? Lies. We never really laid a glove on the Taliban; they just slipped away out of reach and started a guerrilla war (sound familiar?). All those stories of reconstruction and Afghani girls in school? Bullshit. Afghanistan is a still a failed theocratic narco-terror state where our puppet Pushtun-based government barely holds sway in Kabul itself.
For it not to be evil and self-defeating. We could 'win' the war in Afghanistan - so long as we are willing to engage in a little genocide (sound familiar?). We could beat the Taliban - so long as we are willing to invade Pakistan and kick up the hive of support for the Taliban that is the ISI (Pakistan's internal security service). We could topple the Pakistani military regime and pray that their nukes don't end up in the hands of al Qaeda when our observers of their nuclear facilities are slaughtered in the first move of the war. And pray that India doesn't get nervous and decide to turn the whole place into a pile of radio-active slag with a precautionary first strike.
To create long-term solutions and not just kick the can to the next asshole in line. Without a viable, ethical, military solution on the table to defeat the Taliban, we have to neutralize them as a security threat. The best way to do that is to saddle them with the political constraints of a coalitional government. We shouldn't allow anyone into power who has ties atrocities against American citizens, but the Taliban is not monolithic nor are they all responsible for 9/11. If we are to prevent Afghanistan from becoming exactly what it was before 9/11, we need a political settlement that will at least guarantee basic security throughout the country - that won't happen without the Taliban on board.
To honor the victims of 9/11, and bring those who plotted their murder to justice. The fart in the room that the Administration pretends not to smell is that more than 5 years on Osama bin Laden is still out there thumbing his big honker at us and our dead. Someone is responsible for that failure. Little wonder the Administration's apologists are bleating at the idea of negotiating at with the Taliban - it helps distract from the failure to capture bin Laden. Part of any political settlement would have to be turning over any Taliban leaders who conspired in 9/11 and any other al Qaeda crimes. Negotiating with the Taliban does not include absolving anyone of terrorist acts.
So, I am compelled to salute and approve Frist for acting like a real leader for once. He's doing what needs to be done, and saying what needed to be said, even though he's got to know he'll take a major thrashing for it. But given his dismal performance as Senate Majority Leader, his shameless posturing, pandering, venality, and waffling, which every political commentator agrees has destroyed his chances at being the 2008 GOP nominee, probably the only option left to Frist is a noble self-immolation.
Maybe in a final act of contrition he can execute a living will ordering life-support withheld from his political career.