NEWS: Time to talk to the Taliban

Brown: ‘It’s time to talk to the Taliban’

As the deadliest year in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion in 2001 comes to a close, Gordon Brown is ready to talk to the Taliban in a major shift in strategy that is likely to cause consternation among hardliners in the White House.

Six years after British troops were first deployed to oust the Taliban regime, the Prime Minister believes the time has come to open a dialogue in the hope of moving from military action to consensus-building among the tribal leaders. Since 1 January, more than 6,200 people have been killed in violence related to the insurgency, including 40 British soldiers. In total, 86 British troops have died. The latest casualty was Sergeant Lee Johnson, whose vehicle hit a mine before the fall of Taliban-held town of Musa Qala.

The Cabinet yesterday approved a three-pronged plan that Mr Brown will outline for security to be provided by Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) and the Afghan national army, followed by economic and political development in Afghanistan.

But the intention to engage Taliban leaders in a constructive dialogue, which Mr Brown will make clear in a parliamentary statement today, will be by far the most controversial element of the plan. A senior Downing Street source confirmed the move last night and one Brown aide who accompanied the Prime Minister on his recent visit to Kabul, said: “We need to ask who are we fighting? Do we need to fight them? Can we be talking to them?” [complete article]

Pentagon critical of NATO allies

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates sharply criticized NATO countries yesterday for not supplying urgently needed trainers, helicopters and infantry for Afghanistan as violence escalates there, vowing not to let the alliance “off the hook.”

Gates called for overhauling the alliance’s Afghan strategy over the next three to five years, shifting NATO’s focus from primarily one of rebuilding to one of waging “a classic counterinsurgency” against a resurgent Taliban and growing influx of al-Qaeda fighters.

“I am not ready to let NATO off the hook in Afghanistan at this point,” Gates told the House Armed Services Committee. Ticking off a list of vital requirements — about 3,500 more military trainers, 20 helicopters and three infantry battalions — Gates voiced “frustration” at “our allies not being able to step up to the plate.” [complete article]

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3 thoughts on “NEWS: Time to talk to the Taliban

  1. deteodoru

    Allow me to present to you the conclusions of a THESIS that is NOT fact, is not THIS IS IT, but is where seems to tentatively take me my information and analysis. I hope I’m wrong. And, I hope that in his apparent 360 degrees reversal Bush succeeds. As a fellow Christian, I believe in redemption, yet I can appreciate the insatiable desire for revenge of millions of Islamic victims of the Bush circle of thieves, liars and fools whose grand illusions of hate after 9/11, the neocons and Bushies never realized, are far beyond the capacity of their collective mediocrity. MY ONE HOPE IS TO GET OTHERS TO THINK OF THIS AND ALL THE OTHER POSSIBLE CATASTROPHIC EVILS THAT CAN HAPPEN WHEN GOOD MEN AND WOMEN DO NOTHING BUT SHOP UNTIL THEY DROP WHILE SENDING THEIR NEIGHBOR TO KILL AND DIE FIGHTING IN THE MUSLIM WORLD, LEAVING FAMILIES BEHIND, HELPLESS TO FACE THE CONSEQUENCES OF *MY OPINION* OF WHAT HAS BEEN GOING ON. AGAIN, I WISH I WERE DEAD WRONG….AND STILL DARE TO HOPE THAT I AM.

    Suddenly an INR comes out from the intel community telling us that Iran had abandoned development of a nuclear bomb in 2003. Could it be that we just found this out, though two months ago President Bush invoked the risk of WW III?

    Actually, the US knew all along that the only nuclear state in the Middle East is Israel. In 2003, Iran included the elimination of its nuclear program for the same reason that Libya had: With no threat of a nuclear power arising other than the old familiar Israel, why bother? Why not seek economic ties with the West instead?

    But the real atomic bombshell in all this is what “dumb goyim” the neocons took us all to be in their insistence that we bomb Iran. For Israel, the real danger was that it does not dominate the Middle East, as the neocons sought to achieve, and that the opening of US-Iran relations might weaken the Rumsfeld-Cheney promise to the neocons to make Israel the dominator of the Middle East. Bush was reluctant to extend the “war on terror” beyond Afghanistan at cost to our efforts to eliminate alQaeda. But Rumsfeld needed a war in Iraq and quickly. Why?

    Because his real goal was to become president and he knew that after 2004 his age would be a problem. So 2004 was his last chance. Towards his goal he demanded that Bush give him the job of head of the CIA. But Bush’s father, Bush 41, recommended to Bush 43 that his, Bush 41’s, old enemy, Rumsfeld, not be given that post but that Tenet be held there for continuity sake, something vitally needed to de-politicize the intel community. So Bush 43 offered Rumsfeld the SecDef post instead. Rumsfeld refused. But, with Cheney (Rumsfeld’s troll), the neocons went to Rumsfeld and urged him to accept– on grounds that Bush 43 “is a one term putz like his father”– and as SecDef, Rumsfeld could start a war with Iraq, win it fast and clean, thus becoming a national hero that they would support in the 2004 Presidential race.

    So Rumsfeld went off on his own preparing for war in Iraq, despite Bush’s insistence that we cannot attack Iraq until the Afghan venture, then wobbly, is completed. It is ironic that Joe Wilson, enamored of Bush 41, was speaking across Wash DC until Feb. 2003, trying to convince people that Bush 41 had assured him that Bush 43 would not attack Iraq.

    So how could Rumsfeld continue to have his way despite the President’s insistence on delay? It turns out that the GW Bush’s National Guard records– “missing” from the Pentagon– were in Rumsfeld’s possession; he literally was blackmailing Bush into non-interference with Iraq War preparations. Unable to enforce his “no,” Bush, under the advice of his father’s retainers, attempted to slow down the invasion. Alas, wanting to be in on the decision (as they had been in on the first Gulf War), the Democrats in the Senate forced on Bush an irreversible position by passing a resolution. This is why Carl Rove twists the history to say that Congress, not the President, insisted on an Iraq War Resolution.

    It seemed smart to slow down your blackmailer rather than oppose him. But in the end, Cheney got all the Oil Lobby people in to grease the skids and Bush was helplessly reading the teleprompter– policy by speechwriters. At the same time, Cheney was putting out the word to the media that Bush would not go to a second term. Rumsfeld, Cheney, the neocons and Sharon thought themselves on an inevitable path to dominance of the Mideast by Israel and dominance of Iraq’s oil by the US. Undercutting Bush, Cheney negotiated with the Saudis; the latter also wanted Saddam removed and Iran threatened. It was a “perfect storm,” with the top Arab and Jewish states both pushing for the same war on Iraq.

    In the end, the mediocrity of Rumsfeld and Cheney dominated the catastrophe that befell the best layed plans of mice (neocons) and little men (Cheney and Rumsfeld). Bush could do nothing but go along. In 2004 he tried to rid himself of the neocons in his Administration and of Cheney, replacing him with McCain. But Cheney threatened to expose Bush to the right wing “base,” causing an electoral reversal. Bush was advised to keep Rumsfeld as his SecDef so that he could later be scapegoated for how badly Iraq goes. It worked, and in 2006 Rumsfeld was fired ignobly, proving again that mediocrities cannot be more than mere mediocrities.

    But what of Iran?

    Expecting the US to attack Iraq, in his last years Saddam sought better ties with Iran. He proposed that together they could destroy the US economy by converting their petrodollars into Euros. He also proposed collaboration with China through Pakistan to develop a regional nuclear bomb. Once Bush spoke of “the axis of evil” under necon-Rumsfeld pressure, Iran decided that it had no choice but to collaborate with Saddam while seeking diplomatic mollification of the US. Russia and China promised to under-write the project.

    As Iraq was going from bad to worse in Bush’s second term, he could not afford to change course, for fear of exposure as incompetent, the way Hurricane Katrina proved him to be domestically. He knew that fear was his only asset and he sought to switch focus from Iraq to Iran, always desperate to hide the incompetence characteristic of his administration. How incompetent Bush is was made clear by his re-adoption of the neocons after 2005 in pushing once again for expansion of the war to Iran under the guise of yet another lie– that Iran was near to developing a nuclear bomb– and that the US should link its Iraqi and Afghan Wars with a war on Iran.

    Bush’s big chance came in March 2006 when Israeli PM Olmert came begging for an extra $10 billion to save Israel’s economy from collapse. Bush demanded that Israel attack Lebanon, then Syria, expanding to Iran; and when it gets into trouble, the US would be forced to come to its rescue. But Israel’s air blitzkrieg on Lebanon failed and its invasion proved too costly because, like the US invasion of Iraq, it was intel blind. Olmert was man enough to pull out. All that remained possible is for Bush to recklessly attack Iran just before his term ends. But, supported by the new SecDef Gates, the Joint Chiefs threatened a mass resignation if Bush gives the order to attack. Finally, with some semblance of success in Anbar, Bush chose to pull a Bill Clinton and succeed where the latter had failed: to end his term with peace in the Middle East.

    It is in that context that Annapolis followed by the recent NIE (which lied, claiming that only in the last year did we realize that Iran had abandoned its nuclear ambition) should be seen. A failure at war, desperate to be remembered as something other than a total bungler, Bush is seeking to be a miracle Mideast peace maker.

    The neocons and Bush are, needless to say, utterly irresponsible. The “now we know” pendular swing of outrage at the neocons that will produce popular American anti-Semitism and an anti-Israel position were never considered in the carnal passion for power that drove them. As the finger pointing spreads in books and articles with the demise of the Republican Party, Americans will not consider that the neocons are a small cabal of Jewish-born profiteers– NOT Jewish ideologs and NOT really Zionists– who speak only for themselves and certainly not for many Jewish Americans or Israelis. A scapegoat will be needed and the Jews will once again be conveniently there– especially for the Jesus fascists out to make America a Christians (of their stripe, of course) only country.

    Oil avarice, entrepreneurship played with loaded dice and rape of the US treasury are the motivating material factors at issue, NOT ideology, NOT values, NOT principles. Right wing mediocrities never would had believed that one day they would come to power; and when they did, they made it into a perverted bacchanal. From then on, the rest was cover-up and the Constitution be damned as they manipulated a clueless President. In contrast to Bush, Nixon was seeking power in order to bring about a bloodless end to the Cold War, never to acquire wealth or self-interest. That Nixon was brilliant but those around him were mediocre thieves is an historical debate I am ready to enter with gusto. But in the case of the Right Wing that rode to power with Bush and 9/11, there is no question but that they are crooks with major psychological disorders, seeking to assert the one title that always evaded them: MENSH. For that, they recklessly sent America’s real heroic men intel blind into insane Mideast war. It is only at the last moment that the few confidants left around Bush are trying to salvage their “legacies” by reversing course.

    Of course those who cannot reverse course are the 30,000 or so dead or injured American heroes and the hundreds of thousands of Muslims massacred in the Bush-neocon quest for oil, cash and manhood.

    Daniel E. Teodoru

  2. deteodoru

    “The Americans promised me that they will attack Iran
    and give us back Iraq,” said an Anbar Sunni Sheik to a
    Jordanian friend, “The wolf will there suffer severe
    injury to one of his paws and will be forced to limp
    home to bite it off so that he doesn’t die of
    infection. Iran will also lie on the ground whimpering
    and we will march into Baghdad as Iran’s [Shia]
    Takfirs [heretics], that have forgotten that they are
    Arabs, will cower. God will never allow the Persian
    deviants to rule His land.”

    Meanwhile, Bush is copying an oily page from British
    colonial history, if not from post-WW II Stalin. The
    NY TIMES on 11/27/07 reported that Maliki is close to
    a mutual-cooperation pact with the Americans needed to
    follow the lapsing UN validation of the occupation, a
    reported new treaty that sounds frighteningly like
    Stalin’s “treaties” with the occupied East Europeans.

    Indeed, Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute tells the NY TIMES: “I
    think it’s important to the people of Iraq….It
    signals a commitment of both their government and the
    United States to an enduring relationship based on
    mutual interests.” What’s more,“The basic message
    here should be clear: Iraq is increasingly able to
    stand on its own. That’s very good news, but it won’t
    have to stand alone.”

    The NY Times further reports:

    “General Lute predicted that the agreement to
    negotiate formal bilateral relations would contribute
    to regional stability by proving America’s long-term
    commitment not just to Iraq, but also to the broader
    Persian Gulf area. A recurring message of senior Bush
    administration officials, intended in large part to
    deter what they see as Iranian mischief in the region,
    is to reassure Persian Gulf allies of a continued
    American presence there.

    “As part of the agreement of principles, the
    government of Iraq specifically pledged to extend the
    United Nations mandate for one final year,
    guaranteeing a continued American and allied
    deployment there through the negotiations.

    “The United Nations mandate legalizing foreign
    intervention in Iraq differs from the agreements on
    which the United States usually relies as the legal
    basis for the presence of its troops in allied
    countries, like South Korea or Japan. In most cases,
    these arrangements are detailed in formal treaties —
    called status of forces agreements — with nations
    where the United States bases troops and conducts

    To me, as a refugee from Stalin’s takeover of Romania
    through an “anti-fascist” coalition headed by a phony
    Romanian Communist Party of Soviet citizens, and as a
    student of Cold War history, all this sounds like
    scary deja vu. But when I supported Bush in 2000, I
    would have never thought that– under the guidance of
    ex-Communist neocons– he would clumsily try to repeat
    English and Stalinist colonialism. And, just as Stalin
    saw Romania’s Ploesti oil fields as mouth watering
    booty, this is an obvious attempt again at dominating
    Gulf oil.

    The NY Times concludes: “The United States also
    pledged to support Iraq’s economic development and to
    provide financial and technical assistance.
    Significantly, the document committed the United
    States to support Iraq in receiving ‘preferential
    trading condition’”….Wow– “preferential trading
    conditions”– that’s a term used by the Soviets!!!

    Little wonder that, looking at Annapolis, my Jordanian
    friend bitterly commented: “Imagine, the oily rapist
    of Iraq wants to act as marriage counselor between the
    Arabs and Palestinians.”

    Bush surely could find no shoulder parrot in the Dept
    of State to speak so outrageously to the NY TIMES. So
    he uses an obedient man in uniform whose mouth he can
    shape, syllable by syllable, as his Commander and
    Alas, all the bloodshed and squandered treasure we
    suffer in Iraq will come to naught. Much like Bush’s
    infamous “Oil Privatization” plan, this scheme will
    fade into oblivion, for, Maliki–the alleged fool, per
    the NSC– will do the same with the Bush Stalinist
    alliance as he did with the PSA accord; he will laud
    it in public, pass it through the Cabinet, only for it
    to be forgotten as the Iraqi Parliament once more goes
    on recess or debates beyond the needed deadline.

    Bush is a Stalin only in intent, per the alleged
    pre-2000 election musing: it would be so much easier
    if I were dictator. But in fact, he will only be a
    footnote in History proving, in the words of a really
    great American President, Abe Lincoln, that you can
    fool some of the people some of the time, but never
    all the people all of the time.

    As we approach a great Holy days season for all three
    monotheistic faiths, I can only weep and wonder how
    our grandchildren will pay for this man’s folly, an
    ignorant repeat of history.

    Daniel E. Teodoru

  3. deteodoru

    per the WashPost,

    Speaking before AEI, the defunct Cold War think-tank
    bought by the neocons at 5 cents to the dollar, Doug
    Feith, ex-UnderSecDef tells us that he was denied
    implementation of his plan for quick US withdrawal
    form Iraq by Bremer, Bush’s Proconsul to Iraq. Bremer
    tells us that Bush demanded that he be Proconsul for a
    long occupation, so blame Bush not him. In fact, both
    are telling the truth by commission and are liars by
    omission. Feith served the neocon goals per the
    proposal to make Israel dominant in the Middle East by
    Perle et al. How harebrained the proposal was is made
    clear by the repudiation of it by the very Israeli PM
    Netanyahu that had commissioned it. But who cares what
    Israel thinks….The real issue is what the neocons
    want to do to prove that under all their estrogenic
    flight&fear tendencies lie the souls of real “mensch.”
    They were going to shove their plan down Israel’s
    throat until it cries out: alright already, you are
    all real mensch, so stop this World War IV already!

    Unfortunately, pompous naivete and the egos of which
    Greek tragedies are made caused the not so bright
    mediocrities (despite their genetic linkage to some of
    the world’s brightest inbred people) to step on their
    own tongues; they– as History would have it over and
    over again– were played for fools by the Anglo-Saxons
    running the oil industry. While the neocons thought
    that Iraq was the beginning of cutting the arms and
    legs off of Islam so that Israel could dominate the
    Middle East (thus forcing Israel to instead say: wow,
    you guys are really mensch, given how you got America
    to do your bidding against the “Islamofascist” voices
    you hear in your heads) through a blitzkrieg that
    would make both Hitler and Sharon gawk in wonder at
    how we “dumb Goyim” could be pushed into yet another
    sequel to the Crusades, Rumsfeld and Cheney had other
    plans. Their goal was to repeat the reptilian
    Churchill’s bit about the sun never sets on….as OPEC
    eclipses. It looked like a “slam dunk” until it turned
    out that a lot more Muslims than the 19 that drove
    airliners into buildings were ready to die blowing
    American troops to bits, even if not for Saddam, at
    least for Allah.

    Because Feith is demonstrably (just read the
    transcript of his AEI speech and the proofs of his
    book, amongst his many jaw-dropping signs of
    “brilliance”) everything that Gen. Franks said about
    him (himself not a paragon of brilliance), he and his
    neocon fellow “cabal-ists-in-mediocrity, really
    believed that “Rummy” was their guy and Cheney a
    reliable stooge. This is not the first time that the
    oily oil men went along with this cast of characters,
    only to drop them off and do their own thing. While
    Iraq was supposed to atomize en route to Iran, assumed
    Feith, a good first step would be to make sure that,
    not only would it be denied WMDs known not to exist,
    but he would make sure that it never ever again would
    have an army with which to threaten Israel. This would
    be the showplace of the neocon Jabotinskyite “iron
    wall.” Then would come Iran and Syria, and Egypt
    pushed into chaos in the name of “democracy.” The
    Saudis would not be far behind and the Palestinians
    would have nowhere to go but in Jordan. And so, “the
    kid” was given the honor of writing the memo that blew
    Bremer’s mind– just as it did Garnder’s, his
    predecessor. Rumsfeld– informed AFTER THE FACT– was
    reminded that his presidential prospects in 2004
    depended on his NOT reneging on it, so he endorsed it.

    At the same time, the oily oilers also saw in the
    demise of the Iraqi army a chance for occupation of
    the oil fields, run by compliant Iraqi-Americans and
    their anything goes stooge, Chalabi. Alas for them,
    Saddam’s minions had emptied the Iraqi kiddie and were
    able to buy themselves an insurgency before Saddam got
    caught. It was all preplanned by Saddam himself, per
    Malcolm Nance, the brilliant insurgency intel expert
    in his TERRORISTS OF IRAQ. But no one in the neocon
    circle-jerk ever figured that Bush would be led by the
    oilers. As Bush created a Shia Iraqi Government that
    he thought would comply with the anti-OPEC demands of
    the oily oilers, the neocons were yelling “foul.” So
    Bush cut them out of his second term, seeking to
    convince Iran and the Shia masters of Baghdad that oil
    generosity would make the US very friendly. Alas,
    nationalist Sadr got in the way. Maliki yes-ed Bush
    all day, but never allowed Bush’s PSA scheme to become

    Another interesting twist was the neocon attempt to
    reassure the oilers that they don’t need fear the UN
    declaration that America’s oil grab is a war crime by
    attacking the UN for its oil-for-food operation as
    corrupt. They didn’t realize that the USA oilers were
    in that oily corruption to their necks as a way of
    manipulation world market oil prices. So again the
    neocons got burned, left only to insist that America
    can run on love and so doesn’t need Arab oil.

    At the same time, Sharon was using World Zionist
    conclaves in Israel to tell the neocons: you are
    Americans, stick to your own politics, stop being the
    schmucks who screw things up here for us. Out of
    influence in both the US and Israel, the neocons began
    to fragment by 2005. Those who had thought that McCain
    was their man attacked Bush and those who insisted on
    sticking with Bush so as not to be deemed authors of
    defeat called for victory with GW. Bremer simply said:
    it wasn’t my fault, I WAS ONLY FOLLOWING ORDERS!

    Feith was kept in the closet for fear that his utter
    nakedness might prove embarrassing (even more than
    Bush’s). Everyone was looking for both a scapegoat and
    for a knight. With all presidential prospects up in
    smoke, Rumsfeld-Cheney went into damage control. But
    what’s there left to control once you are politically
    six feet under?

    Hiding behind pear-shaped military “experts,” the
    neocons continued to argue that victory is still
    possible. However, they insisted, Bush-Rice were
    making such a mess of the world that there seemed
    little credibility in the fruit-shaped advocates of
    someone else’s mom and dad fighting in Iraq while
    their children see the national debt skyrocket at
    their generation’s expense.

    Feith is now allowed to defend himself now because
    there’s no greater damage he could do to the neocons
    than the neocons have done to themselves already. As
    for Bremer, he wrote a credible “ain’t my fault, I too
    was ONLY FOLLOWING ORDERS” book, so why not let Feith
    go and prove that he is indeed one of the chosen
    [neocon] people.

    For a while, working corruption and fraud from the
    shadows, the neocons literally got away with murder.
    But now, instead of “mensch,” they are considered
    utter “putzes” by Israelis left to right. Worst still,
    by desperately grasping for them as he sought to avert
    defeat through escalation, Bush showed that neither he
    nor them are capable of learning, repeating a
    neocon-bis-strategy as of 2006, cheered on and
    represented by Sen. Lieberman, a neocon Rep-Dem

    This time, all insist that the Petraeus surge “is
    working,” though Petraeus refuses to say so for he
    knows that distributing cash in Anbar to buy himself
    the best Sheiks money can buy, as Saddam had done
    after his defeat in order to start an insurgency, can
    easily turn into a new insurgency against Petraeus
    once the cash runs out or the Shia regime in Baghdad
    cuts them off.

    The recent Iran nuclear NIE that the intel agencies
    made public is the oilers’ way of saying: better
    expensive oil than no oil at all. They are ready to
    set a date certain for US withdrawal– for AFTER a new
    President faces the consequences. And so we have come
    full circle from where Feith on behalf of the neocons
    and Bremer on behalf of the oilers made a mess of the
    American “unipolar moment” that is so bad that almost
    any dumb thing– including this diatribe– could be a
    truth of commission but a lie of omission. When things
    get into the realm of “dumb,” no one’s right, no one’s
    wrong. Alas, hundreds of thousands of Arabs whose only
    desire was freedom from Saddam and thousands of
    Americans whose only wish was to keep America safe
    after 9/11 have been wasted with no one left to
    replace them who would want to do anything that might
    make the whole thing worth while. From Bush down, the
    rule is: lie, lie, lie and repeat that it’s “THEIR”
    fault [Democrats] until people get so sick of it that
    all they want is to forget the word “terror,” wishing
    only for a reliable oil flow to fill-er-up their SUVs
    at whatever the price.

    Sorry to say but this will be a sad Holyday Season for
    us all

    Daniel E. Teodoru

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