And point nine is:
And ninth, unlike Al Qaeda in Iraq, which was a foreign-led group that sought to impose, unpopular Taliban-style rule on Sunni areas of Iraq, the Taliban in Pashtun areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan are not outsiders, but are often neighborhood people whose views about religion and society are rooted in the values of the Pashtun countryside.
While, of course, the U.S. should be splintering, buying off and co-opting as many elements of the Taliban as possible, American officials also need to be realistic about how much closer Al Qaeda and the Taliban have grown together in recent years, and the fact that the insurgency has mushroomed in size on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border.
The ignoring of the Afghan situation by Bush has – at least – outwardly given the Taleban a real belief that they are invincible in the current war. While I don’t feel that this war or Iraq should have been fought on the putrefactive simple belief that is was a just war, that is was a matter of vengeance would obliterate the hurt felt in the US after 11th of September and that somehow Bin Laden would be easily found and killed.
He hasn’t and is still free to hide in whatever cave he chooses – but we have to look at the culture of the Taleban, what it will mean if Obama does try to negotiate with them. It will mean a return to what was and the human rights abuses we saw just a few years ago – so, as Bergan says, negotiating from a standpoint of weakness really isn’t an option.
Obama has committed US troops, and not just the GI Joes who Bush looked upon as simple cannon fodder for his executive army who were there to procure the oil rights that Bush was/is after.
The Obama administration has ordered 17,000 additional American soldiers to go to Afghanistan this year. As a result, two Marine brigades and a mobile, well-armored Stryker brigade will deploy into the heart of the Taliban insurgency in southern Afghanistan. Marine and Stryker brigades are not the kind of units you send in to play nice.
That, in itself is correct – they are not. But what you do with those troops will send out the real message of Obama – is it one of negotiation or, and with those kind of troops on the ground, one of saying do the peace thing or we will obliterate you.
If the later that could blow up in Obama’s face. There is an air in many nations that a negotiated peace is the best way forward – I agree – but if that negotiation means the abuses of women and children come back to haunt those who want peace – I don’t think that peace at any cost is an option.
The Taleban do need to see what these new troops will and can do – that will make them think twice – but that isn’t looking at these things just through liberal eyes – it is a difference of a culture that many of us in the west cannot comprehend. Negotiating from a ‘strength’ standpoint is a must.