A View From The Handbasket

Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Bill Frist throws in the terror towel
Posted by neros_fiddle at 9:32 AM
So let me get this straight. We're going to stay in Iraq (a country that didn't attack us on 9/11) no matter how many soldiers and civilians get killed, but fighting the Taliban is just too much trouble:

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Monday that the Afghan guerrilla war can never be won militarily and called for efforts to bring the Taliban and their supporters into the Afghan government.

The Tennessee Republican said he had learned from briefings that Taliban fighters were too numerous and had too much popular support to be defeated by military means.

"You need to bring them into a more transparent type of government," Frist said during a brief visit to a U.S. and Romanian military base in the southern Taliban stronghold of Qalat. "And if that's accomplished we'll be successful."

If anyone out there has a clue as to what exactly the GOP anti-terror strategy is, let me know. I'm at a loss.

What Frist is proposing may not be an entirely bad idea -- if your goal is stability. But the current regime has not shown an iota of interest in promoting stability to date. The invasion of Iraq and the support of Israel in the Lebanon conflict were both profoundly destabilizing actions, purportedly in the name of taking radical action to undermine terrorist support. (The fact that both accomplished precisely the opposite is immaterial in this discussion.) Bush certainly didn't sound like he wanted to create a US-backed kinder, gentler Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001. He talked about decimating those thugs, and very few had a problem with that.

But now we've come full circle. Iraq was originally a distraction that prevented us from effectively finishing off the Taliban and al Qaeda. Now, it's Afghanistan that the GOP sees as a distraction preventing them from focusing on Iraq and maybe Iran. So they're willing to let the Taliban, the guys who employed al Qaeda as their own personal army, back into the halls of power and use the military for more non-9/11-related adventures in pursuit of the neocon dream of global hegemony.

I still don't buy the "Bush was behind 9/11 to jump-start the PNAC agenda" conspiracy theories, but the neocons are doing precisely nothing to make those theories any less plausible.

UPDATE: Frist claims he was misquoted and only wants to bring in "moderate Islamist" elements of the Taliban.

It'll be interesting to see what the warbloggers make of the notion of a "moderate Islamist."

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