Friday, October 06, 2006

If you won't listen to me...

Listen to Lawrence Martin of the Globe and Mail:
Negotiate with the Taliban? Talk to the enemy, to terrorists? Unconscionable, they said, knees jerking like football players in warm-up routines. How can we even think of it?

In fact, negotiations of that sort have been thought of and done on numerous occasions. We negotiated with the FLQ during the 1970 October Crisis. Tony Blair negotiated with the Irish Republican Army. Washington negotiated with Libya's Moammar Gadhafi and, of course, the Evil Empire. In Uganda, the government has been talking to the fanatical Lord's Resistance Army. Anyone with the slightest acquaintance with history can find dozens of other examples.

Political solutions are tried because that's how wars are ended. Sometimes, the talks are fruitful, sometimes not. But when the alternative is killing one another till hell freezes over, how can the bargaining-table option be dismissed out of hand?
We can either fight this war intelligently - impossible so long as George W. Bush is in power - or we can try a political process. No guarantees of success with either path, but one is far less costly in dollars and lives.

5 comments:

wonderdog said...

"We can either fight this war intelligently - impossible so long as George W. Bush is in power...."

This is the whole problem. If we can't divorce our operations in Afghanistan from the "war on terror" rhetoric (which Harper, unfortunately, seems very fond of), we will lose.

Adrian MacNair said...

We have two options, neither of which are appealing:

1. Stay and lose millions of dollars and hundreds of soldiers in Afghanistan until we admit we can't defeat an enemy which has popular support of the people.

2. Leave and lose face, and listen to Afghani's whine about gender apartheid and the Taliban.

Anonymous said...

Might be uncomfortable to hear it, but John Kerry has the opinion that Frist's statement is equivalent to raising the white flag.

Where does one go from there, if President Bush is the biggest hindrance?

The Democrats don't seem to have a clear solution, do they?

Alison said...

And rather famously, the Zionists negotiated with the Nazis in 1937 in an attempt to create the State of Israel, although the Nazis turned them down.

Anyway, we are negotiating with the Taliban - it's just not common knowledge yet.

Anonymous said...

So if negotiations are going on already, with one part of the Taliban group, can we say it has been fruitful?

There is the element of the group that prefers killing our guys or any of their own, to make their point.