When The Timeline Tells A Different Story

On Tuesday, Investors.com posted an article about the timeline involved in the prisoner swap that freed Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from the Taliban.

The article reports:

“This was about bringing home an individual that had served his country,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said last week about the 2014 swap.

But IBD has uncovered a series of credible reports from 2012 — as well as a transcript of a candid press conference by then-Afghan President Hamid Karzai — that show the White House originally wanted to give up the Taliban commanders under just one condition: that the Taliban open a political office in Qatar “to conduct peace negotiations.” It was Qatar that ended up taking the prisoners.

It seems that successful negotiations are not a strong point of the current White House.

This is the timeline as listed in the article:

January 2009: Obama signs executive order calling for Gitmo to be shuttered within a year, while his national security team considers if the five Taliban leaders are safe for release.

2011: White House and State Department officials open secret talks with the Taliban in Germany and the Persian Gulf to discuss their release from Gitmo as part of “peace talks.”

Jan. 3, 2012: The Taliban announce they are prepared to open a political office in Qatar to conduct peace negotiations in exchange for the release of the Taliban commanders. (“The releases would be to reciprocate for Tuesday’s announcement,” according to “The Guardian.”)

April 2012: Working with the White House, Karzai sends delegation of Afghan government officials to Gitmo to interview the Taliban prisoners and secure their oath to cut ties with al-Qaida.

(“On the issue of the release of the Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo, we are fully in support of that,” Karzai says during a July 9, 2012, visit to Japan. “If they wish to go to Qatar, we want them rejoined with their families.”)

Karzai signed on to the deal because he thought it would buy peace and goodwill with the Taliban, which threatened to retake Afghanistan.

You would think by now we would have learned that any peace and goodwill from the Taliban is highly unlikely. Now that the five prisoners formerly classified as “indefinite detainees” have been released, the defense lawyers for the remaining prisoners can easily argue that their clients are less dangerous.

The goal was always to close the prison at Guantanamo–not to return Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to America.




The Cost Of Ignoring The Lessons Of History

I am part of the generation that graduated from high school during the ramp up of the war in Vietnam. The boys in my high school graduating class went to college or Vietnam. There were no other choices. That was a time in the history of this country where everyone was not expected to go to college. My husband served in the Navy during that time. We lost friends in Vietnam, and we have friends who physically came home but never mentally came home. Vietnam was a striking example of what happens when politicians take over a war. The military wins wars when they are allowed to do so. Politicians fight with one hand tied behind their backs so that they don’t risk offending anyone. That is the place we have come to (again) in Afghanistan.

On Thursday, the Washington Times posted an article about the increase in casualties in the war in Afghanistan. Although it is difficult to prove statistically, the author of the article believes that the increase in casualties is directly related to the rule of engagement set by the Obama Administration.

The article reports:

“In Afghanistan, the [rules of engagement] that were put in place in 2009 and 2010 have created hesitation and confusion for our war fighters,” said Wayne Simmons, a retired U.S. intelligence officer who worked in NATO headquarters in Kabul as the rules took effect, first under Army Gen. Stanley M. McChrystal, then Army Gen. David H. Petraeus.

“It is no accident nor a coincidence that from January 2009 to August of 2010, coinciding with the Obama/McChrystal radical change of the [rules of engagement], casualties more than doubled,” Mr. Simmons said. “The carnage will certainly continue as the already fragile and ineffective [rules] have been further weakened by the Obama administration as if they were playground rules.”

As President Obama’s troop surge began in 2009, so did new rules of engagement demanded by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who was responding to local elders angry over the deaths of civilians from NATO airstrikes and ground operations.

Please read the entire article to get the full picture. I posted it simply to bring up the concept. We need to allow our young men to fight, or take them out of harm’s way. What we are doing now is slowly killing off the future leaders of our country for no apparent reason. We made that mistake in Vietnam. Let’s not make it again.

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No, Mr. President, America Did Not Fall Short–You Did

Today’s Weekly Standard posted a short article about some comments made by President Obama regarding Afghanistan.

The article reports:

“So, you know, I think that, have we achieved everything that some might have imagined us achieving in the best of scenarios? Probably not. You know, there’s a human enterprise, and you know, you fall short of the ideal,” said Obama.

This comment infuriates me. First of all, the President did not give the military the number of troops they asked for to do the job. Second of all, he withdrew troops before the actual fighting season. Third of all, he told the Taliban exactly when he was planning to leave so that they could wait us out. Fourth, he established rules of engagement that made it very difficult for American soldiers to defend themselves, much less fight a war. Afghanistan was the victim of failed leadership from the Obama White House. Unfortunately, we may watch Iraq fall victim to the same problem.

Strong leadership would bring us much closer to the ‘ideal.’ Voting ‘present’ will not accomplish anything.

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This Is Not Something America Should Be Supporting In Any Way

Chief Justice Shinwani from the Supreme Court ...

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I probably would not qualify as a feminist by today’s standards. I believe women should be able to do any job they are qualified for and should be paid equally for their work, but the current definition of feminism has left that concept far behind. However, I have very strong ideas about how women should be treated. Some of those ideas come from spending part of my childhood in the American south, where chivalry and manners can still be found. Thus, I was very disturbed when I read the following article.

The Toronto Star posted an article today about recent comments by President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan.

The article reports:

In remarks made Tuesday, Karzai backed a “code of conduct” written by the Ulema Council of 150 leading Muslim clerics. It could dramatically restrict women’s daily lives and threaten a return to the dark days of Taliban rule.

“Men are fundamental and women are secondary,” the council said in its statement released last week, and later published on Karzai’s own website.

…It says women should not travel without a male guardian or mingle with men in public places such as schools, offices or markets. It also allows wife-beating in the case of a “sharia-compliant” reason, although it rejects forced marriage and the bartering of women to settle disputes.

In Kabul, Karzai said that the council had not put “any limitations” on women, and that it was only stating “the sharia law of all Muslims and all Afghans.” But some Muslim scholars have disputed the clerics’ strict interpretation.

This was what Afghanistan was like under the Taliban. I remember the joy when people took out their radios and danced when the American troops arrived. Have the people of Afghanistan forgotten their own recent past?

The article further reports:

Before the 2001 invasion, Afghan women were confined to their homes and forced to wear burkas. Girls were not allowed to go to school, and females could not get medical attention from male doctors.

Since then women have made large strides, returning to work and school, starting businesses and taking part in the political process. But their lives are frequently at risk, and have become more difficult as security has frayed in recent months.

“Sixty-five per cent of the population is under the age of 25, and young women are not prepared to take it any more,” says Toronto author and journalist Sally Armstrong, who has written on Afghan women’s rights. “They are brave, and they march in the street. The message is ‘Karzai must go.’”

Karzai has been backtracking on women’s rights in recent years, as Western countries began to roll up their military operations. By 2014, most will have left the country, although they have pledged to continue support for its development.

President Karzai is hedging his bets because foreign forces are leaving his country, and he is faced with making friends with the Taliban or being literally left hanging. The mistake made early in our dealings with Afghanistan was allowing Sharia Law to be written into the country’s constitution. Until their constitution changes, Afghanistan will never truly be a free country.


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All Civilizations And All Religions Are Not Equally Civilized

Yesterday CNS News posted an article about Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s response to President Obama’s apology for American troops accidently burning the Koran.

The article reports:

Karzai, according to a BBC translation of his remarks made Sunday, told the Afghan people he was speaking to them after discussing the matter with “jihadi leaders,” “prominent scholars,” and Afghan elected officials, and that he spoke for the “pure sentiments” of the “Afghan nation” and the “Islamic world,” when he said: “We call on the US government to bring the perpetrators of the act to justice and put them on trial and punish them.”

At the same time Karzai was demanding the prosecution and punishment of U.S. troops involved in the Koran-burning incident, he conceded that the U.S. government had indicated that the Koran burning “was not deliberate.”

There was nothing in the letter about punishing the people who killed Americans and Afghan civilians after the incident was revealed. Are the lives of the people killed as valuable as the Koran? What sort of value system is this? Aren’t the rioters responsible for their actions?

There are a few points here that have not been stated often enough. The Korans were accidentally burned. They were originally confiscated because prisoners were using them to send messages. How did this news travel so quickly in a country that doesn’t even have electricity in many parts of the country? How many Korans has the Taliban burned when they have attacked mosques? Islam is a violent religion that stirs up its followers to violence. It is not conducive the free societies or peaceful nations. Until the followers of Islam renounce violence, there will never be peace in countries where Islamists are in control or in regions of the world controlled by Islamists. When in charge, the followers of Islam are violent people. History has taught us that.



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Our Schizophrenic Policy In Afghanistan

Members of the Afghan national army stand in f...

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Yesterday the Washington Times reported that the Taliban is opening a liaison office in Qatar as a step in negotiating peace in Afghanistan. The only problem with the peace talks that will be held in Qatar is that the negotiations totally shut out Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s government. Shades of Czechoslovakia in 1938.

Leaving aside any opinion on negotiating with the Taliban, what is the history of success of treaties that were not negotiated with the leaders of the countries they involved?

The article reports:

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said Tuesday that the office in Qatar will conduct negotiations only with the “international community.”

“There are two essential sides in the current situation in the country that has been ongoing for the past 10 years. One is the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and the other side is the United States of America and their foreign allies,” Mr. Mujahid said in an e-mailed statement, according to the Associated Press.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan refers to the country’s name under Taliban rule

As a person with a family member who did two tours in Afghanistan, I can’t even find the words to express how disgusted I am with the fact that President Obama is abandoning the country and leaving it in the hands of the people who gave us 9/11. It may be time to leave Afghanistan, but we should at least include the Afghanistan government in the negotiations.

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