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Ignorance is no Impediment

On Tuesday US special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke was in Islamabad complaining that Washington knows almost nothing about the Taliban.  He then went on to explain that the Taliban consists of a hard core supported by a large lumpen mass that is not very religious and which can be separated from the real nasties by astute diplomacy and other incentives.  This theory on the nature of the Taliban has become a mantra from the Obamaites ever since Joe Biden came out with it back in January, based on God-knows-what. The approach also assumes that the US is capable of practicing astute diplomacy, something that has not been evident since 1992.

That Holbrooke would complain that we know nothing about a group while at the same time describing tactics to be used to weaken it is the kind of hubris that one might have expected from Condi Rice or Dick Cheney. It also reminds me of similar statements made during Vietnam and, more recently, relating to Iraq, where nearly every prediction turned out to be sheer fiction.  I guess the law of averages suggests that even a Bill Kristol will be right some of the time and our leaders must think that they will eventually roll a seven or an eleven in the crap shoot that typifies American foreign policy.  Nevertheless, I have to wonder if this is going to be another case of wandering around in the dark until sheer exhaustion compels us to pick up our remaining marbles and go home.

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#1 Comment By Steve Hogan On April 8, 2009 @ 8:16 pm

The Peter Principle is alive and well inside the beltway. Combine hubris and ignorance with political power and you have yourself one nasty concoction.

#2 Comment By TomB On April 9, 2009 @ 2:23 am

Phil Giraldi wrote:

“This theory on the nature of the Taliban has become a mantra from the Obamaites ever since Joe Biden came out with it back in January, based on God-knows-what. ”

Why Phil, the basis is clearly the same zeitgeist that the U.S. has been running on now for decades. Of *course* the real estate market will continue going up forever. Of *course* the Iraqis will love us occupying them. Of *course* we can run our companies on asset-to-debt ratios of 1-to-35 or so. Of *course* the arabs and moslems will embrace democracy and Western sensibilities. Of *course* you can buy a $500,000 house on a $50,000 per year salary. And on and on.

Only natural; if there’s any one sure thing that a democracy will produce is the understanding that its people are the purest, most noble, most deserving form of life ever to grace the planet, and because of that it’s only natural to believe that of course whatever they hope for they will get.

Nuts; even just accepting that there’s *any* problem in Afghanistan damn near makes Biden an uber-realist in today’s modern U.S. atmosphere.

Cheers,