This morning’s editorial, ‘The Taliban Threat,’ in the Washington Post, must have shocked Vice-President Joe Biden:
“I think the Taliban are, obviously, exceedingly bad people that have done awful things,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said last week. “Their capability is somewhat different, [from al Qaeda] though, on that continuum of transnational threats.”
That analysis — which is being used by many who oppose sending additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan — made some sense in the first years after Sept. 11, 2001. Now it is badly out of date. Al-Qaeda, though still dangerous, has suffered serious reverses in the past several years, while the Taliban has gone from struggling for survival to aiming for control over both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Though it is not known to be planning attacks against the continental United States, success by the movement in toppling the government of either country would be a catastrophe for the interests of the United States and major allies such as India.
For years the United States has been trying to persuade Pakistan to fully confront the threat of the Taliban, even as its government and army dithered and wavered. Now that the army at last appears prepared to strike at the heart of the movement in Waziristan, the Obama administration is wavering — and considering a strategy that would give up the U.S. attempt to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan.
After all, VP Biden only suggested that General McChrystal step up attacks in Pakistan on al Qaeda and add Mullah Omar’s shura council in Quetta to the target list, using drone strikes and ground troop raids.
The WaPo’s editors summarized it with this:
Adopting such a strategy would condemn American soldiers to fighting and dying without the chance of winning. But it would also cripple Pakistan’s fight against the jihadists. With the pressure off in Afghanistan, Taliban forces would have a refuge from offensives by Pakistani forces. And those in the Pakistani army and intelligence services who favor striking deals or even alliances with the extremists could once again gain ascendancy. After all, if the United States gives up trying to defeat the Taliban, can it really expect that Pakistan will go on fighting?
When the lights went on inside the chicken hawk house at the Washington Post, somebody was actually at home. An unholy alliance of violent Islamic jihadists — the Taliban, al Qaeda, and senior officials within Pakistan’s government — seek power in Pakistan and control of its 60 nuclear weapons.
Maybe tomorrow the WaPo’s editors will advise President Barack Obama to broker a four-way winning strategy between India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the United States to both end the dispute over Kasmir and destroy this threat to all nations.