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Feb 29 2020

This Is What “Winning” Looks Like

Does it ever happen to you that you express some reasonable political sentiment, say that you’re not too keen on ripping babies out of their Mother’s arms or that Russian National Interests are not identical to United States National Interests or that using the National Security apparatus of the United States Government and it’s Agencies to enrich and protect yourself and your friends and imprison and ruin your enemies is a policy you might view differently if you were not the beneficiary.

At moments like that the other Party will say something like, “I bet you can’t name one policy of his you support, you partisan parrot.’ C’mon, you know some clueless Debate Moderator is going to ask it.

I now have my stopper, and you do too.

The Taliban Peace Deal Might Have Been Had Many Years and Thousands of Lives Ago
by Spencer Ackerman, Daily Beast
Feb. 29, 202

The Trump administration, in by far its most laudable foreign-policy act, is on the verge of a peace agreement with the Taliban. Official details about the U.S.-Taliban deal, likely to be signed Saturday, are scarce. Nothing about what follows is certain, not even whether it augurs the end of the war: Defense Secretary Mark Esper said last week that the U.S. expects to draw down to 8,600 troops, around the force levels it inherited from the Obama administration, while the Taliban insist the U.S. must withdraw entirely. Arduous negotiations await an Afghan government that is deeply divided internally and was brought into these peace talks reluctantly.

Whatever emerges, Trump—to his credit and to the shame of those Trump critics who consider themselves more responsible stewards of U.S. foreign policy—has shattered the generation-long American political cowardice that inhibited negotiating an end to the war.

At least three times over the past 19 years that the U.S. could have had such a deal, on terms at least as favorable to Washington as the one reached now, and likely better.

The first was the 2001 surrender offer. Another opportunity arose in 2003. The third came amid Obama’s 2010-11 troop surge.

In the early days, the U.S. and its Afghan clients were so triumphant about their apparent victory, and the wounds of 9/11 and the Afghan civil war so fresh, that they sneered at negotiations. Later, when the Taliban insurgency showed the folly of that decision, the U.S. preferred to fight on in the similarly elusive hope that more violence would mean more leverage. Instead, over the course of 19 years, the Taliban simply strengthened their own.

“The outcomes we could have gotten a decade earlier, two decades earlier, would have been far stronger,” lamented retired Army Col. Chris Kolenda, who was part of the failed 2011-12 peace effort and has ever since urged the U.S. to negotiate with the Taliban. “It’s a missed opportunity,” assessed Ali Jalali, the former Afghan interior minister whom the Taliban contacted in 2003 to explore a deal.

All of which is another way of saying that America’s fantasies of what it could achieve in the war, even after it became a Washington cliché that the war had no military solution, consigned thousands to needless deaths.

Spencer goes on to document each of those 3 initiatives but the best deal was the first one, when the Taliban were reeling and all but wiped out. They offered Hirohito terms and W said no.

Since December 7th, 2001 the blood of every single U.S., Ally, and Afghan casualty has stained the hands of the United States Government, W and Barack, House and Senate, Republican and Democrat.

I hope you rot in Spandau.