Portland Press Herald opinion writer M.D. Harmon is spending time today googling anything former President Bush said about the Taliban to try and somehow prove to the internets that Joe Biden was wrong to suggest that the Taliban was not our enemy. He is posting his results on AMG.
I would note that the Vice President was referring abstractly to the notion that we have to negotiate a peace with the Taliban because they are a big constituency in Afghanistan, whether we like it or not. This is reality. Reality has a well known Democratic bias, but it is what it is.
Of course, conservatives think reality should bend to them rather than the other way around. Only weak-kneed bleeding hearts let reality drive them into doing something they didn’t prefer from the get-go. And besides, anything mentioning the word “negotiate” or “compromise” is thoroughly un-Republican, so Mr. Harmon’s knee jerked out faster than you can say “lesser of two evils.”
Harmon found several quotes supposedly supporting his thesis, but the first he found, I thought, summed up President George W. Bush’s legacy and Republican reality-rejection quite nicely.
Here is how Mr. Harmon put it:
Found this in a 15-second search on Google on a site called RightWingQuotes: “And you all also may remember that early on, I said if you hide a terrorist, if you feed a terrorist, if you provide comfort to a terrorist, you’re just as guilty as the terrorist. The Taliban now knows what we mean. They’re gone. And, guess what? People in Afghanistan don’t miss them one bit.” — George W. Bush rallies the troops in Alaska on 2/16/02″
The word enemy isn’t there, but the concept certainly is.
Ok. Great. Bush didn’t like the Taliban. No one does, excepting the people who actually live in Afghanistan outside of Kabul. We certainly shouldn’t take anything they think into account, right?
Isn’t it fitting that this quote is brought out to attack Biden but has a huge, gaping failure of understanding right smack in the middle of it?
If the Taliban were “gone,” as Bush said, we wouldn’t still be in Afghanistan! This wouldn’t be an issue and we could stop pouring money into another foreign country, bring our troops home, and rebuild America.
But it wasn’t true. It isn’t true. They were not gone then, and are not gone now.
Therefore, the Democratic administration must be the grown ups who accept reality and deal with the world as it is, not as it is imagined in the minds of the right-wing talk show hosts. And by “grown-ups” I mean only those people who abide by the very low standard that foreign policy isn’t all about unzipping your pants, smashing your dick on the table and saying “Isn’t it huge?”
Joe Biden, grown up, accepts the reality that some negotiations will help get us out of Afghanistan in the next ten years. Republican non-reality creates foreign policy based on myths, chest-thumping, and stupidity, leading to a bash on the other side for daring to suggest that we think about negotiating with the same bad guys their man theoretically eradicated nine long years ago.
If Republican theory were true, Afghanistan ought to be a utopia by now. After all they have no regulations, no liberal activist judges, and definitely no Taliban. Why are we still there?
The Taliban isn’t gone. Citing the guy who said they were gone nine years ago doesn’t make me think your side is good at foreign policy.