The AP is reporting that Bill Frist has suggested today that we fold elements of the Taliban (i.e. terrorists) into the Afghanistan government because the war is unwinnable. More on the specifics of that statement later…
The significance of this is particularly frustrating as somebody who was saying that we shouldn’t commit so many troops to Iraq before Afghanistan was finished.
In short, as I read this…I want to throw things.
QALAT, Afghanistan 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.
“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.”
And to answer your question Sideways, yes, we just lost.
Now, for his part, Frist is saying that the AP distorted his remarks and took them out of context. Fair enough. It wouldn’t be the first time.
So in fairness…we’ll give him his fair shake on what he said…
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 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ but America will never negotiate with terrorists or support their entry into AfghanistanÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s government.
Still…what I get out of all these statements is that our lack of troops (i.e. our neglect) in the country is finally forcing our hand to make other arrangements that we really shouldn’t have to make. Hearts and minds indeed, but had we finished the job and not slipped into Iraq without a plan to win the peace, perhaps we could have done more in Afghanistan.
This is what incompetence, arrogance and singlemindedness brings us. I think it’s time to try something new.