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?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.
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?
Friday, October 06, 2006
If you won't listen to me...
Listen to Lawrence Martin of the Globe and Mail: