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.
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.”