Monday, October 02, 2006

Bill Frist "Cuts And Runs"

The Taliban are evil, right?

After all, their noxious Afghan regime was part of the "Axis of Evil" and the Taliban are, clearly and simply, purveyors of terror who hate our freedoms.

Bill Frist tells us it is so on his VolPAC website:
The greatest threat to our freedom today is born out of the reality that somewhere in the world tonight – as we speak – a teenager is strapping on a backpack loaded with explosives. They’ll walk into a cafĂ© or a city square, and detonate themselves.

20 or 30 people will die.

These terrorists hate our way of life … our very existence. And, if they have their way, they’ll bring those backpacks to U.S. soil.

That’s the reality of the threat we face. The questions is this … do we want to confront that reality abroad, or do we want to confront it here at home … in Nashville, in New York, in Boston?

We've made significant progress these past few years ...

2/3 of Al Qaeda’s 2001 leadership is dead or in custody; the Taliban regime has been systematically dismantled; and tonight, Saddam Hussein – one of the most brutal dictators in the history of the world – is sitting in a jail cell.

...The terrorists have lost their hiding places; democracy marches onward; and those that support terror have learned the catastrophic price they’ll pay for attacking the FREE people of the United States.

Our goal is clear, positive, and right.
And more, as he talks about President Karzai:
He is amazing -- a charismatic leader, about 50 years old, who has taken charge, risked his life, and earned the respect of his people. He leads boldly. His successful election by the Afghan people late last year was a final death knell for the Taliban and terrorists in Afghanistan.
It's straightforward. Taliban = terrorists and we don't negotiate with terrorists.

Right? Wrong.

Here's Frist today:
QALAT, Afghanistan (AP) - U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Monday that the Afghan war against Taliban guerrillas can never be won militarily and called for efforts to bring the Islamic militia and its supporters into the Afghan government.

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.''

...``We're going to need to stay here a long time,'' Frist said.

The senator said he was warned to expect attacks to increase. There appears to be an ``unlimited flow'' of Afghans and foreigners ``willing to pick up arms and integrate themselves with the Taliban,'' he said.

He said the only way to win in places like the volatile southern part of the country 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.''
What a flip-flop! Bill was for destroying the Taliban before he was for offering it a massive role in Afghanistan's government!

But I'm not really here to criticize Bill for his flip-flop. After all, I actually agree with him that "hearts and minds will ultimately be the answer" so it would be plain nasty of me to harp on it.

But where I am truly and utterly pissed-off is that Bill and every other Republican with half a brain has known this all along. Their military leaders told them so. History told them so. The people of those occupied nations told them so.

So I am pissed that every single one of them deliberately misled the American people for years about what they already knew - just to gin up the worst kind of gung-ho nationalistic frenzy and so garner votes and political power.

It has cost lives and the blood is on their hands.

Update 7.03 PM - Frist Flops Back Wow, now I know what it feels like to be a rightwing blogger, constantly plugged into the noise machine so that i can be told what to think. Since I posted above Mike Starkias in comments and Stephen Snith in an email, both from Frist's VolPAC, have directed me towards Frist's statement on that website where he tries to spin his words back.
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.
I'm sorry, Senator, but I just don't buy it. There's a world of daylight between:

"people who call themselves Taliban,"


"moderate Islamists potentially sympathetic to the Taliban."

I notice that you don't say AP actually misquoted you so, context or not, I think you intended to say the words that originally came out of your mouth and are now trying to spin them with weasel words because your base are up in arms.

In any case, your new statement is wrong - there comes a time when negotiating with terrorists who have renounced violence is the only way to end terrorism because you simply cannot kill them all, there are always new ones being made by the very action of killing them. The latest National Intelligence Estimate acknowledges this as do you from your acknowledgement that "we cannot stabilize Afghanistan purely through military means". Ask the British about it, they know from experience in Northern Ireland. Maybe McGuiness and Sinn Fein too. But then, you already know it and have done for years. The cynicism with which you sacrifice soldier's lives for political gain is breathtaking.

I agreed with your flip and had hope that another Republican had finally shrugged off the "we make no mistakes" intransigence that has been so singularly useless in carrying out it's rosepetal promises. However, the flop is that of a politico who has belatedly realized he put his foot in his mouth and simply shows that you don't always mean what you say but rather say what you feel will have political benefits.

I have a measure of respect for who come by their opinions honestly even when I disagree with them and none for politicians who only mouth what they feel will be vote-worthy (even when I agree with their ideas).

No comments: