A possible way out in Afghanistan

It’s being reported by the Washington Post that high-level talks between the Karzai government and the Taliban are taking place in Afghanistan on the possibility of a negotiated end to the war. Here, with what I consider to be a brilliant take on this very positive development is former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski.

As distasteful as a deal with the Taliban might be, I think, as Brzezinski points out, we need to keep in mind that we didn’t go to war with them in the first place, but with al Qaeda. And, while we might find the Taliban, and, in particular, their treatment of women and persecuted minorities, abhorrent, at some point we have to ask ourselves how much we’re willing to sacrifice in order to keep engaging them militarily… If you’ve got five or ten minutes, I’d really encourage you to watch the above clip, in which, in my opinion, Brzexinski does a masterful job in explaining why this is really the best outcome we could realistically hope for.

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6 Comments

  1. Oliva
    Posted October 6, 2010 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    I’m eager to listen to the clip but am too tired tonight, but I heard a moment of Thom Hartmann today on the radio, a horrific detail or two, and went in search of a fuller version. Here’s a version of the part I heard, truly yucky:

    . . . Men like Karzai, puppets of foreign occupiers, rarely die peaceful deaths in Afghanistan. Mohammad Najibullah, the former Soviet-appointed head of the secret police who became president under the occupation, was extracted from a U.N. compound where he had taken refuge when Kabul fell in 1996. The Taliban dragged him from the back of a jeep, disemboweled him, cut off his penis and forced him to eat it before hanging him from a lamppost.

    Cutting a power-sharing deal with the Taliban may not be possible. But Karzai has to try. . . .

    –from July 2010, http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/ted-rall/29831/the-great-disruptor-why-the-u-s-cant-talk-to-the-taliban

  2. John Galt
    Posted October 7, 2010 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    The problem with Obama is that he doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism. He thinks we’re regular people, just like the rest of the people on earth.

  3. Edward
    Posted October 7, 2010 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    I’m torn about this. I hate the Taliban, and I’d like nothing better than to see them banished from the planet. Call me a bigot, but I don’t see that we have any place in the world for stoning women to death for having sex, or chopping people’s heads off for owning non-approved CDs. But I don’t see any viable military solution on the horizon in Afghanistan. As much as I hate to say it, and as much as it would pain me if we turned our backs on the people of that country, I don’t think we can afford to keep going it on our own.

  4. Posted October 7, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    How was he supposed to digest his own penis without bowels?

  5. Ted
    Posted October 7, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    That just shows you how backward they are. If our guys had done it, they would have fed the man his penis early in the day, and allowed him to partially digest it, before cutting him open, pulling it back out, and showing it to him. Now that’s what I call American exceptionalism.

  6. Meta
    Posted October 8, 2010 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Michael Moore has the following to say about our 10 year war in Afghanistan.

    My Fellow Americans:

    Nine years ago today we invaded the nation of Afghanistan. I’d just turned 40. I had a Discman and an Oldsmobile and had gotten really into LiveJournal. That was a long time ago. It was so long ago, does anybody remember why we’re even there? I think everyone wanted to capture Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice. But he got away sometime in the first month or so. He left. We stayed. Looking back now, that makes no sense.

    Needing to find a new reason for the mission, we decided to overthrow the religious extremists who were running Afghanistan. Which we did. Sorta. Unlike Osama, they never left. Why not? Well, they were Afghans, it was their country. And, strangely enough, a lot of other Afghans supported them. To this day, the Taliban only have 25,000 armed fighters. Do you really think an army that tiny could control and suppress a nation of 28 million against their will? What’s wrong with this picture? WTF is really going on here?

    The truth is, I can’t get an answer. My generals can’t quite tell me what our mission is. If we went in there to rout out al-Qaeda, well, they’re gone too. The CIA tells me there are under 100 of them left in the whole country!

    My generals have also admitted the following to me:

    1. There is no way we can defeat the Taliban. They enjoy too much popular support in the rural areas, the majority of the country.

    2. Even though we’ve been there nine years, the truth is the Taliban, not us, not the Afghan government, control the country. After nine years, we’ve only completely run the Taliban out of 3% of Afghanistan.

    3%!! (Just for reference, it took us only ELEVEN MONTHS after D-Day to entirely defeat the Nazis across all of Europe.)

    3. Our troops and their commanders are still trying to learn the language, the culture, the customs of Afghanistan. The fact is, our troops are simply not trusted by the average people (especially after they’ve killed numerous civilians, either through recklessness or for sport).

    4. The Afghan government we installed is corrupt beyond belief. The public does not trust them. President Karzai is on anti-depressants and our advisors tell us he is erratic and loopy on many days. His brother has a friendly relationship with the Taliban and is believed to be a major poppy (heroin) dealer. Heroin poppies are the #1 contributor to the Afghan economy.

    The war in Afghanistan is a mess. The insurgency grows — and why wouldn’t it: foreign troops have invaded and occupied their country! The people responsible for 9/11 are no longer there. So why are we? Why are we offering up the lives of our sons and daughters every single day — for no reason anyone can define.

    In fact, the only reason I can see is that this war is putting billions of profits into the pockets of defense contractors. Is that a reason to stay, so Halliburton can post a larger profit this quarter?

    It is time for me to bring our troops home — right now. Not one more American needs to die. Their deaths do not make us safer and they do not bring democracy to Afghanistan.

    It is not our mission to defeat the Taliban. That is the job of the Afghan people — if that is what they choose to do. There are many groups and leaders of countries in this world who are despicable. We are not going to invade 30 countries and remove their regimes. That is not our job.

    I am not going to stay in Afghanistan just because we’re already there and we haven’t “won” yet. There is nothing to win. No one from Genghis Khan to Leonid Brezhnev has been able to win there. So the troops are coming home.

    I refuse to participate in scaring the American people with a phony “War on Terror.” Are there terrorists? Yes. Will they strike again? Sadly, yes. But these terrorist acts are few and far between and should not dictate how we live our daily lives or make us ignore our constitutional rights. They should never distract us from what our real priorities are in making our country safe and secure: Everyone with a good job, families able to own a home and send their kids to college, universal health care that’s coordinated by your elected representative government — not by greedy, profit-hungry insurance companies. THAT would be true homeland security.

    And what about Osama bin Laden? Nine years and we can’t find a 6’5″ Arab man who apparently is on dialysis? Even after offering $25 million to anyone who will tell us where he is? You don’t think someone would have taken us up on that by now?

    Here’s what I know: Osama bin Laden is a multi-millionaire — and if there’s one thing I’ve learned about the rich is that they don’t live in caves for 9 years. Bin Laden is either dead or hiding out in a place where his money protects him. Or maybe he just went home.

    Just like we should do. Now. My condolences to the families of all who died in this war. Most of them signed up after 9/11 and wanted to do their duty because we were attacked. But we were not attacked by a country. We were attacked by a few religious extremists. And you don’t defeat a few thugs by shipping halfway around the world thousands of armored vehicles and hundreds of thousands of soldiers. That is just sheer idiocy.

    And it ends tonight.

    God be with you.

    I’m not a Muslim.

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