Frist says U.S. can’t win, should bring Taliban into Afghan government; Update: Frist backs off — somewhat; Update: Brits in secret truce with Taliban?

posted at 4:15 pm on October 2, 2006 by Allahpundit

The Commissar has decided to vote Democratic this fall.

Why not? What’s the difference?

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…

Sen. Mel Martinez, a Republican from Florida accompanying Frist, said negotiating with the Taliban was not “out of the question” but that fighters who refused to join the political process would have to be defeated.

“A political solution is how it’s all going to be solved,” he said.

Yep. That’ll solve it.

jumper.jpg

Update: If we’re going to do this, just pull everyone out. Don’t lend an imprimatur of legitimacy to it by shepherding these medieval savages into a U.S.-backed government. Pull out, admit defeat, and let the Taliban take back the country through force. Then we can really and truly be back to September 10, 2001. Minus a skyscraper or two.

Update: Ace says he’s done with the GOP. So am I. That’s it.

Update: Some of the commenters are wondering if Frist was maybe quoted out of context. Here’s more from the article:

The senator said he had been warned to expect attacks in Afghanistan to increase. There appears to be an “unlimited flow” of Afghans and foreigners, he said, “willing to pick up arms and integrate themselves with the Taliban.”

He said the only way to win in places like Qalat is to “assimilate people who call themselves Taliban into a larger, more representative government.”

“Approaching counterinsurgency by winning hearts and minds will ultimately be the answer,” Frist said. “Military versus insurgency one-to-one doesn’t sound like it can be won. It sounds to me … that the Taliban is everywhere.”

Does this guy actually think we’re going to convince the Taliban of the virtues of liberal democracy?

Update: Just posted at VOLPAC:

I’m currently overseas visiting our troops in Afghanistan, but I wanted to take a moment to address an Associated Press story titled, “Frist: Taliban Should Be in Afghan Gov’t.” The story badly distorts my remarks and takes them out of context.

First of all, let me make something clear: The Taliban is a murderous band of terrorists who’ve oppressed the people of Afghanistan with their hateful ideology long enough. America’s overthrow of the Taliban and support for responsible, democratic governance in Afghanistan is a great accomplishment that should not and will not be reversed.

Having discussed the situation with commanders on the ground, I believe that we cannot stabilize Afghanistan purely through military means. Our counter-insurgency strategy must win hearts and minds and persuade moderate Islamists(!!!) potentially sympathetic to the Taliban to accept the legitimacy of the Afghan national government and democratic political processes.

National reconciliation is a necessary and an urgent priority … but America will never negotiate with terrorists or support their entry into Afghanistan’s government.

Emphasis and exclamation points mine. That’s not what he allegedly told the AP, though: “He said the only way to win in places like Qalat is to ‘assimilate people who call themselves Taliban into a larger, more representative government.’”

I think what we’ve got here is a Kinsleyan gaffe.

More: So basically Frist’s distinguishing between the actual Taliban, whom we must defeat by any means necessary, and people who “call themselves Taliban” but aren’t really — even if they themselves don’t know it yet.

“Moderate Islamists.” As if the degrees of Islamic radicalization weren’t hard enough to keep track of, now we’ve got “moderate Islamists” in the mix.

Actually, now that I think of it, that’s a nifty description for CAIR.

Update: A truce?

That’s not a tabloid rag reporting that. That’s arguably the most respected paper in Britain.

I need to get away from the computer for awhile. I’ll leave you with this quote:

The deal — and the avoidance of the word ceasefire — allows both sides to disengage without losing face, an important aspect in the Afghan psyche. Polls suggest that 70% of the population are waiting to see whether Nato or the Taliban emerge as the dominant force before they decide which to back.

Update: Ace agrees. Not good enough.

Update: Rusty’s disgust reaches further: “If democracy in the Middle East is a grand experiment, then the null hypothesis has been disproven. No, the majority of Muslim nations are not yet ready for democracy. Give them another hundred years and we’ll run this experiment again.”


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if you erroneaously influence enough voters on the right, then you will deserve Pelosi & Co. and all they will bring. You haven’t seen nihilism yet.

Right. Continue to eat shit and continue to smile at them while you eat it. That’s the way to get your elected leaders to take you seriously.

If Pelosi switched parties tomorrow, you’d say we have to vote for her because the alternative is worse.

Allahpundit on October 2, 2006 at 9:54 PM

Allah,

It seems to me Frist is advocating, admittedly not in an elegant fashion, a basic sound counterinsurgency strategy.

There is a wide spectrum of people who could be called “Taliban” that ranges from tacit supporters all the way up through actual fighters. The winning strategy is to co-opt those elements (mainly locals and the “common people”) that provide the Taliban support and comfort while killing/capturing those that actually carry out attacks, make explosives, run weapons, etc. You simply can’t kill Pashtun in southern Afghanistan and expect to win. The Soviets tried that strategy and only ensured the Mujahadeen had the undying support of the population.

Certainly we need to kill the fighters and the leadership and possibly some of those that directly support them (my opinion is that it’s better to let the Afghan government arrest and deal with them while we concentrate on killing the dead-enders.). However, the “sea” in which this insurgency swims cannot be bombed into submission, even if such a strategy were possible tactically. What we need to do is poison the water in which the Taliban fighters swim, thereby forcing them out of their protected areas and exposing them for our forces to kill/capture. This is more than a simplistic “hearts and minds” kind of operation, requiring a complex stratum of coercion strategies to turn the population away from the Taliban.

Iraq and Afghanistan are often portrayed as black and white issues and any suggestion that a “kill them all” strategy might not be the best is quickly condemned as liberalism or appeasement. It’s sad to see that kind of narrow thinking in this post and in the comments. Winning in Afghanistan, Iraq and the GWOT requires a lot more than killing terrorists – I hope you would agree. The populations that support terrorists by allowing them sanctuary must be persuaded to end that support. Sometimes, force may coerce them to do so, but often that strategy is counter-productive.

Finally, what Frist suggests and what I’ve detailed above is exactly the strategy we’re pursuing, though you don’t hear about it on the news. Our strategy, despite some setbacks, is working, but everyone needs to keep in mind that counterinsurgency is never a quick or easy process.

NPP on October 2, 2006 at 10:38 PM

NPP — I’m not suggesting that victory requires that all Taliban — or Taliban sympathizers or “people who call themselves Taliban” or whatever other bullshit euphemism we’re using now — be killed. I’m suggesting that those who aren’t not be made part of the government. The Afghan government and Taliban sympathies should be absolutely, 100% mutually exclusive.

Allahpundit on October 2, 2006 at 10:41 PM

Hey…how bout them neocons? Strength of character issues got you down?
actually in this situation it’s the paleocrats of WWII that’s missing from the current courage equation. Republicans weren’t alone in that war not by a long shot.
This wouldn’t be the first time that the political will had to cycle out before the light reappeared at the end of the tunnel.
I know it might not be too popular right now but America needs now more than ever, paleo-patriot statesman and women.
Conservative-Liberal, It should not matter, to hell with parties, America has to be an all for one-one for all nation and without the nationalism that globalisation-open borders, that by it’s very nature melts. The unity America needs will always be out of reach.
We cannot ignore the world or threats to our safety but the Founding Fathers were brilliant and they were right.
America first, duty first, patriotism and morality.

Speakup on October 2, 2006 at 10:59 PM

What could we call a new 3rd party…Hmmmmm.

1) POP (Party Of the People)?
2) KMAEATME (Ca-Met’-me) Kiss My Ass Europe And The Middle East Party?
3) ALWNT Party? (At Least We’re Not Them) Party?
4) RPWREHWW (Ross Perot Was Right Except He Was Weird) Party?
5) The Savage Nation Party :-D

SouthernGent on October 2, 2006 at 11:08 PM

Allah,

I certainly agree that Mullah Omar should not be given a seat at the table, but the Pashtuns and other groups that constitute the base of Taliban support must have some form of legitimate representation in the government if they are to be brought into the political process and end support for terrorism. The same could be said of the Sunni minority in Iraq. Sooner or later, representatives for these populations will have to be given a voice in the government if democracy is to succeed. Obviously some vetting must occur and radicals should not be allowed in the government but compromises will have to be made, just as they were in Northern Ireland, Nicaragua, and other civil wars and insurgencies. An absolutist stance will only ensure that the Taliban’s popular support will continue.

What is needed is an attractive alternative to Taliban that people can support, but this is not something that America can create.

NPP on October 2, 2006 at 11:23 PM

The Taliban has become a terrorist group, and needs to be disbanded, or made inconsequential.

I’ve long stated that Republican Senators need a wake up call. Call, write, or e-mail them as needed, but do not allow democrats to take control, then pass the Al-Qaeda Bill of Rights, and again push for the Illegal Alien Amnesty bill.

Frist is an idiot whose time is up.

DannoJyd on October 2, 2006 at 11:33 PM

As a Republican in a position runing a local election, I’m in terrible position. I’ve dedicated years to my beliefs and the Republican party’s application of it. I agree with all the anger and frustration you’ve written in your post, though, but we can’t abandon our party and let this group run it over and take away everything real Republicans believe in.

So many of us worked so hard for years defending what we believe in. The fight in Middle East. American security. Conservative values. Constitutional Rights.

Yes, it seems the higher ups in our party are stripping all that away, and leaving us our in the open after a long fight, left to die. I believe it was our work online that got Bush back in office. I believe it was our work locally adn regionally that kept Congress in the red. I believe they’ve forgotten about us and continued on with an agenda that none of us back.

Yes, they’ve abandoned us, but we can’t abandon our party. We can’t abandon Lincoln and Reagan. We can’t abandon all the good Republicans have done over the years, and allow the Democrats to revert us back to the pre-Reagan era.

How we get our Party back to a real Conservative agenda, I don’t know. But I know we can’t support Democrats.

Vincenzo on October 3, 2006 at 12:44 AM

I’m tempted to use a profanity here, but I won’t.

The way things are going, why don’t we Americans all just drink some cyanide, let the Mexicans take over the country, and let THEM fight it out with the islamists for who runs the world into a return to the stone age quickest.

Look, I’m as sick of the RINOS and weak sister PC pseudo-conservatives as you guys are. Yeah, I’m as sick of voting for the lesser of the evils, the slightly smarter of the idiots too.

But I’d like to have the nation, the economy to survive long enough to possibly get fixed… And voting Dem or even just sitting out the election or going with a 3rd party (I got mad enough at the GOP to become a registered Libertarian for a while… Then I grew up) is going to insure that we WON’T last long enough to fix things.

So the Republicans will still get my votes. (Well, except McCain… He is the specific individual responsible for my short lived Libertarian alliance).

I have chosen to fight back in my own little way by not giving MONEY to the GOP. I’ll support financially the few individual candidates that are really politically conservative. And I’ll use mails and emails plus other things like my t-shirts and bumper stickers and ‘pseudo-bills’ to try to get my message through to the GOP leadership.

But darned if I’m going to help the ‘worser of the evils’ elected by voting for them or sitting the election out.

If the system is going to break, so be it, But I don’t want to have to look back in a couple of years and have to admit that I was one of the ones that actively worked to destroy it.

LegendHasIt on October 3, 2006 at 12:55 AM

As often as I’m hearing “I’m not a Republican anymore”, relating to every annoying statement or misstatement or misstep or bad legislative proposal by a Republican leader, I’m not surprised that nobody in Republican leadership doesn’t take us all as seriously as they might.
The emotional reactions(tantrums, really) that have come from my own side over the last couple of years, including such gems as, “President Bush is a traitor”,”The Republicans in Congress want to sell America to China” and the ever popular “spending like a drunken sailor”, have done nothing to improve our representation in Congress or our voice in the White House.
As much as I like to rant about the “craptacular” things that go on in D.C., it might behoove us to count to ten before declaring unending blood feud against whatever bonehead faction screws up today.
We can become the “crazy, ranting uncle” that nobody wants to sit next to at Thanksgiving if that’s what we really want but I’m not sure that’s what we want. Our Nation needs us and if we marginalize ourselves we won’t be able to help. Most of the world outside our closed echo chamber on the Internet doesn’t share our passion and will(or has already) tire of our frantic, vein popping tantrums. We are becoming the Right’s version of the wild eyed young civil-rights types that say things like, “nothing’s changed!!!” while the elders of the movement who went to Selma,etc shake their heads and wonder why they don’t get any credit for all the changes that have happened.
I believe that we need to fight like hell in primaries and write reasonable , courteous letters to our Representatives in D.C. telling them that you will work for or against them in their next primary, based on their stance on whatever issue you care about.
I understand the frustration that comes from seeing chances wasted time and time again. We must remember that our Nation’s current problems(understatement alert) took most of the last century to create and will take at least that long to fix. The heady feeling of power we in the Blogosphere get when people from all over the world know our name and site URL can make us think that the world should and even does dance to our tune but we need to remember that we still need to persuade those in power that they should listen to us and flying off the handle every fortnight or so is not going to get that done.

PS I still wish we had a “preview” feature

TBinSTL on October 3, 2006 at 1:26 AM

Vincenzo, you keep up the good work, and we’ll do our best to wake up the sleeping conservative representatives.

So who are we to believe, the AP, or Senator Frist?

I no longer trust the AP thanks to the excellent reporting of Michelle.

DannoJyd on October 3, 2006 at 1:41 AM

From the Weekly Standard Newsletter:
http://www.weeklystandard.com/

IN OTHER NEWS

This week 68 veterans, each a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, gathered in Boston for their annual convention. Unfortunately, this distinguished group does not include a single veteran of the current war in Iraq, nor does it include a veteran of the continuing campaign against al Qaeda and their Taliban allies in Afghanistan. The United States has awarded only five Medals since the attacks of September 11, and only one of these was for action in the war on terror. That recipient, Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith, received the award posthumously. Smith was killed in action on April 4, 2003 near Baghdad International Airport. The citation tells how Smith

braved hostile enemy fire to personally engage the enemy with hand grenades and anti-tank weapons, and organized the evacuation of three wounded soldiers from an armored personnel carrier struck by a rocket propelled grenade and a 60mm mortar round. Fearing the enemy would overrun their defenses, Sergeant First Class Smith moved under withering enemy fire to man a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on a damaged armored personnel carrier. In total disregard for his own life, he maintained his exposed position in order to engage the attacking enemy force. During this action, he was mortally wounded. His courageous actions helped defeat the enemy attack, and resulted in as many as 50 enemy soldiers killed, while allowing the safe withdrawal of numerous wounded soldiers.
It is a shame that more Americans aren’t familiar with the story of SFC Smith, and that Congress has seen fit to award only a single soldier with such recognition is a tragedy for a nation saturated with negative coverage of our armed services. Still, young Americans may yet become familiar with the names of a new generation of war heroes.

We can’t let them down.

Speakup on October 3, 2006 at 1:45 AM

So let me get this straight. A Senator (and we all know that regardless of party affiliations Senators are a bunch of a-holes) casts ill on the GOP, and suddenly “conservative” bloggers jump ship and decide to vote Democrats into Congress?

I call bullshit on that “sudden change of mind”.

As I already pointed out in some other threads here, an increasing number of “conservative” bloggers are just looking for lame excuses to make public a decision they made long ago.

Any vote for a Democrat is a vote for defeat.

Niko on October 3, 2006 at 1:50 AM

Ace says he’s done with the GOP. So am I. That’s it.

The evil Imperial Empire hasn’t yet won, Han. There is still time to turn around the AllahPundit Falcon and join the Rebel Alliance.

But I’d like to have the nation, the economy to survive long enough to possibly get fixed… And voting Dem or even just sitting out the election or going with a 3rd party (I got mad enough at the GOP to become a registered Libertarian for a while… Then I grew up) is going to insure that we WON’T last long enough to fix things.

Keeping Republicans in power will only encourage them along their current path: corruption, incompetence, authoritarianism and complete disregard for Conservative ideals. You’re not going to “fix things” by re-electing them… you’re going to make them worse. You’re going to erode any remaining shreds of dignity or honesty that yet remain. There are two things that can make Republicans return to Conservative principles, decency, and honor: 4-8 years of Democratic control, the rise of an acceptable substitute “small government” party.

Make them earn it.

Mark Jaquith on October 3, 2006 at 1:52 AM

Mark–

I thought that same way in 1992, voted for Ron Paul, while another bunch of idiots voted for Perot. That way got us 8 years of Clinton. Yeah, that made things so much better in the long run, didn’t it???

LegendHasIt on October 3, 2006 at 2:12 AM

“I love The Money Pit. That is my answer to that statement”

RightWinged on October 3, 2006 at 3:53 AM

Somebody tell this congressional fool there are no fn moderate muslims!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LZVandy on October 3, 2006 at 6:40 AM

Girls,

Limbaugh has made a pretty good career out of laughing at the left for always “feeling” and never “thinking.” I am reading a lot of feelings here and not too many thoughts.

Sure it sucks. Get in the game. There’s no crying in hardball.

Stephen M on October 2, 2006 at 5:48 PM

There’s no crying in hardball. Thank you, Stephen. STFU and play ball, girls.

Jaibones on October 3, 2006 at 9:16 AM

And just in case I missed it above, here is what Frist actually said, according to his office.

Jaibones on October 3, 2006 at 9:26 AM

Run Pat Run

Alden Pyle on October 3, 2006 at 9:37 AM

Pat Robertson? Buchanan? Duffy?

SouthernGent on October 3, 2006 at 10:17 AM

Duffy?

Step by Step! Day by Day! …. I mean… er… I’ve never heard of such a theme song to any ABC TGIF show that I watched didn’t watch as a kid.

RightWinged on October 3, 2006 at 11:05 AM

Picture a sinking ship. Now picture a rat. Now picture a lot of rats.

Make sure someone remembers to turn off the lights.

honora on October 3, 2006 at 11:20 AM

For all of you who cannot vote GOP now I plead with you to seriously consider 3rd party candidates. Find out who they are, study their platforms, ask questions and vote for who you believe will be best for America. And remember, no matter who you vote for, an educated voter who votes with integrity never wastes their vote!

well, my options are Kinky and Carol Keeton Strayhorn. Any other suggestions????

pullingmyhairout on October 3, 2006 at 12:21 PM

Its time for a coup in the republican party
ABso-FRAGGIN-lUtely clean house

I didn’t join the Republicans to get the same BS I did from the Democrats

and if we can’t clean out the Republicans then we form the conservative party

I’m in, too.

It’s come down to this: Reformation or Revolution??

Redhead Infidel on October 3, 2006 at 12:22 PM

As a Republican in a position runing a local election, I’m in terrible position. I’ve dedicated years to my beliefs and the Republican party’s application of it. I agree with all the anger and frustration you’ve written in your post, though, but we can’t abandon our party and let this group run it over and take away everything real Republicans believe in.

So many of us worked so hard for years defending what we believe in. The fight in Middle East. American security. Conservative values. Constitutional Rights.

Yes, it seems the higher ups in our party are stripping all that away, and leaving us our in the open after a long fight, left to die. I believe it was our work online that got Bush back in office. I believe it was our work locally adn regionally that kept Congress in the red. I believe they’ve forgotten about us and continued on with an agenda that none of us back.

Yes, they’ve abandoned us, but we can’t abandon our party. We can’t abandon Lincoln and Reagan. We can’t abandon all the good Republicans have done over the years, and allow the Democrats to revert us back to the pre-Reagan era.

How we get our Party back to a real Conservative agenda

Paul Krugman wrote an interesting article on this yesterday. (Yes I know Krugman is anathema to most of the people on this blog, but bear with me). He posits an interesting theory on the problems the Republicans are having within their own ranks–basically too much attention to getting elected, pulling together of two groups (social/religious conservatives and business)who thought the other would help them with their agenda. Well the strange bedfellows that manifest themselves in politics is not news. The news here is that one side did all the roll up the sleeves work to get the Repubs elected, the other side put up all the money.

Now for the big question: guess which side got screwed?

The other narrative is more straightforward: absolute power corrupts absolutely. Every political movement eventually dies from suicide, not homicide.

honora on October 3, 2006 at 12:24 PM

Interestingly, it was this picture (or one similar) that galvanized my political interest. I realized that anyone who could murder unarmed women as a matter of national policy was an enemy that I needed to be concerned about. So now we have a choice between a party that fights this enemy (albiet poorly) and one which will surrender to them. Who to vote for? Seems obvious to me.

old_dawg on October 3, 2006 at 1:32 PM

Voting “blue” because you believe that Frist is a fool is voting to punish America with a Democrat take over. I object to that idea.

Voting for the Democrats or a third party or not voting at all, is voting for losing the war on terrorism, voting for cut and run in Iraq AND Afghanistan, and voting for another attack upon an American city in the future.

Letting the Democrats win by default, because Frist is a fool, is unacceptable. The Democrats are simply NOT an acceptable alternative. And until the rules change, a third party candidate is a not a viable choice. The game is Republican OR Democrat — and the Democrats are the party of surrender, if not outright treason.

The ONLY way to deal with RINOs is in the primary elections. That is where the rank and file chose who the nominee of the party is. Ironically, the nutroots have shown us the way by getting Lamont the nomination.

The Republican leadership needs to find candidates that reflect the principles of Reagan. Maybe the “tent” is a bit too big — but that is what primary elections are for.

Frist isn’t going to be around in the Senate come next January. And he almost certainly will NOT be the the Republican nominee for President in ’08.

georgej on October 3, 2006 at 2:58 PM

Bill Frist is leaving his Senate seat from Tennessee and either Harold Ford, a Democrat who has spent most of his 39 years in DC and has an Obama complex, or Bob Corker, a 54-year-old Republican, self-made businessman/former Chattanooga mayor/financial conservative will win that seat.

Frist wants to be President badly, but with his history of weak, weak leadership and lack of any media charisma, it is hard to imagine he will get out of the starting gate.

Corker is in the tightest race of the year against Ford, whose TV ads are stunningly effective. And if Corker looses, as he well may,it will be bad for the Senate and very sad for our country.

Webutante on October 3, 2006 at 4:35 PM

“I love The Money Pit. That is my answer to that statement”

RightWinged on October 3, 2006 at 3:53 AM

This could be the most sense anyone has made so far on this topic.

And yes, after two days I’m still pissed off at Frist; but at no time was I ready to throw the GOP overboard. We really have to watch the knee-jerk reactions so close to an important election. Here’s a thought: Why not wait to cry victory for the Dems until after the votes have actually been counted? Just a thought.

Cary on October 4, 2006 at 10:08 AM

Sorry got the quote thingy backwards… :(

Cary on October 4, 2006 at 10:09 AM

Senator Frist is a traitor to this country.

Do you remember his flip flop on the Senate bill SB2611 on Amnesty for Illegals. He said he would vote against it and after voting for Amnesty he then pushed through a last minute managers amendment to ask Mexico for permission before building a fence.

Just look who is hanging out with in Afghanistan, another traitor Mel “let em all in” Martinez.

These guys are both just as bad as the most rabid liberals in the Senate.

What we need on our ballots is None of the Above.

The Republican Party has sold us all out. Just look at what is happening in Arizona with Randy Graf replacing a retiring Jim Kolbe who was another open borders Amnesty RHINO. They are withholding money to support his candidacy because he refuses to support comprehensive immigration plans.

The RNC has been taken over by Rockefellar Republicans and have left conservatives out in the cold.

Tom Tancredo for President

Just my 2 cents.

ScottyDog on October 4, 2006 at 11:28 AM

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