Monday, November 17, 2008

Why Is This Ritual Performance "News"?

How often does Karzai have to engage in this predictable routine, performed solely to demonstrate that he is not merely another belligerent in Afghanistan's bandit wars or a "puppet" of the foreigners, before it's just not newsworthy anymore?

November, 16, 2008: President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan has offered to provide security for the Taleban's reclusive leader, Mullah Omar, if he agrees to peace talks. Mr. Karzai made the offer despite the multi-million dollar bounty offered for the militant leader's capture by the United States.

September 30, 2007:
President Hamid Karzai yesterday offered to meet the Taliban leader and give militants a government position only hours after a suicide bomber in army disguise attacked a military bus, killing 30 people – nearly all of them Afghan soldiers.

January 9, 2006: Mr Karzai had said he would be happy for Taleban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar to "get in touch" if he wanted peace.

The dance always ends the same way. . .

November 17, 2008: A Taliban militant leader rejected on Monday an offer from Afghan President Hamid Karzai of safe passage for insurgent leaders who wanted to talk peace.

It's called the politics of gesture. Also known as the Khattak:


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