Spring Break In Afghanistan: Pundits Gone Wild.
A most peculiar and confounding week it's been, perhaps no less for the dead-certain types who think the "war on terror" is over but that somehow "peace with terror" is possible, always just around the corner, somebody will wave a magic wand, the Taliban will come around, you'll see, "no we can't" is just another way of saying "yes we can" and so on. I have a go at a sort of roundup of the tea-leaf-reading, here at The Propagandist.
It's mainly about how the chatter is about why Americans can't understand what their president can't explain, or perhaps it's why Americans can't explain what their president can't understand. You think it's easy? You try it.
The eminent Bruce Reidel gives it a shot mainly by avoiding it and drilling down towards bedrock. He has to bore through layers that are compacted somewhat by his commendable loyalty to his president, but it's always worth going along with Reidel because he knows a thing or two. Turns out that even if it were all merely about beating the stuffing out of al Qaida and if "the United States and its allies" could only do that everything would be fine, this is where that's at:
"Today three of the five terrorists on America’s most-wanted list live in Pakistan. Bin Laden’s heir, Ayman Zawahiri, is the only one “hiding.” Mullah Omar, the leader of the Afghan Taliban, commutes between bases in Quetta and Karachi where he enjoys the backing of the Pakistani intelligence service, the Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) . . .The latest addition to the most-wanted list, Hafeez Saeed, the head of Lashkar-e-Taiba, does not even make any pretence of hiding. He is a regular on Pakistani television and often addresses large crowds of enthusiastic supporters at rallies the ISI helps to arrange. . ."
Ah, but "the tide of war is receding," as they say. What better time then to, oh I don't know. . . publish a book of Taliban poetry! The Guardian story has to be read in its entirety, otherwise you will think I'm making things up. "The poetry shows that the Taliban are people just like we are, with feeling, concerns, anxieties like ours."
Em, speak for yourself, Alex Strick van Linschoten. But since you brought it up, what rhymes with strapping a suicide belt onto a a teenage boy and sending him into a village to blow himself up and killing at least 20 innocent people today?
I'll leave the last word to Richard Kemp, the former British commander in Afghanistan: "What we need to remember is that these are fascist, murdering thugs who suppress women and kill people without mercy if they do not agree with them, and of course are killing our soldiers."