The Taliban have been the acknowledged enemy since day one (that being September 11). Joined at the hip with al Qaida, supporters of Osama, bastards who managed to make "pathological repression" the understatement of the century... Bill Frist yesterday said the Taliban need to be brought into the government of Afghanistan as full partners.
The Tennessee Republican said he learned from briefings that Taliban fighters were too numerous and had too much popular support to be defeated on the battlefield.
"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."
The Afghan government prior to the invasion was plenty transparent. You looked at it and you saw the Taliban. You looked at the country and saw people trying to live under one of the most repressive regimes in recent memory. A place where women were confined to the home and allowed out only when draped head to toe and accompanied by a male relative. A place where men weren't allowed to shave. A place where nobody could listen to music or fly a kite. A place where females were not allowed education. That's the kind of existence Bill Frist is ready to consign to Afghanistan.
This is an issue quite distinct from the situation in Iraq, where our unprovoked intervention has fomented chaos and a very different form of sectarian hell than the people there were accustomed to. We are supposed to "stay the course" on the disaster of our own making in Iraq because to do otherwise somehow dishonors the thousands who died there, as if their senseless deaths could be further cheapened by pulling out and preventing thousands more.
But in Afghanistan, the home territory of the group that pulled off the attack that "changed everything," we're supposed to cede power back to the Taliban because our woefully underfunded, undermanned forces there--thank you, Dick and Rummy and Wolfie, for going all in on Iraq before Afghanistan was even close to being finished--have been unable to establish control over the countryside after early successes. We're supposed to return to the status quo there, after a couple hundred paratroopers and Rangers have died, giving control of the country back to the very people that have been determined to wreak havoc with us from the beginning.