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tekisui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 01:21 PM
Original message
Obama Ponders Outreach to Elements of the Taliban
Source: NY Times

WASHINGTON President Obama declared in an interview that the United States was not winning the war in Afghanistan and opened the door to a reconciliation process in which the American military would reach out to elements of the Taliban, much as it did with Sunni militias in Iraq.

Mr. Obama pointed to the success in peeling Iraqi insurgents away from more hard-core elements of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a strategy that many credit as much as the increase of American forces with turning the war around in the last two years. There may be some comparable opportunities in Afghanistan and in the Pakistani region, he said.

In a 35-minute conversation with The New York Times aboard Air Force One on Friday, Mr. Obama reviewed the challenges to his young administration. The president said he could not assure Americans the economy would begin growing again this year. But he pledged that he would get all the pillars in place for recovery this year and urged Americans not to stuff money in their mattresses.

I dont think that people should be fearful about our future, he said. I dont think that people should suddenly mistrust all of our financial institutions.

As he pressed forward with ambitious plans at home to rewrite the tax code, expand health care coverage and curb climate change, Mr. Obama dismissed criticism from conservatives that he was driving the country toward socialism. After the interview, which took place as the president was flying home from Ohio, he called reporters from the Oval Office to assert that his actions have been entirely consistent with free-market principles and to point out that large-scale government intervention in the markets and expansion of social welfare programs began under President George W. Bush.

Sitting at the head of a conference table with his suit coat off, Mr. Obama exhibited confidence six weeks into his presidency despite the economic turmoil around the globe and the deteriorating situations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He struck a reassuring tone, saying Americans should not be frightened of the future, and he said he had no trouble sleeping at night.

Look, I wish I had the luxury of just dealing with a modest recession or just dealing with health care or just dealing with energy or just dealing with Iraq or just dealing with Afghanistan, Mr. Obama said. I dont have that luxury, and I dont think the American people do, either.

The president spoke at length about the struggle with terrorism in Afghanistan and elsewhere, staking out positions that at times seemed more comparable to those of his predecessor than many of Mr. Obamas more liberal supporters would like. He did not rule out the option of snatching terrorism suspects out of hostile countries.

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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 01:25 PM
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1. Diplomacy: what a refreshing change
Edited on Sat Mar-07-09 01:25 PM by TechBear_Seattle
Two problems, though. First, diplomacy requires that both sides be willing to compromise. The Taliban is a fanatical religious movement, and history very consistently shows that fanatical religious movements are incapable of compromise. I dare say that the President's efforts will not reach the stated goals. Second, I can already hear America's own Taliban shrieking about how our "Muslim" president is selling-out to terrorists, just like they feared would happen.
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tekisui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Yeah. I don't know the answer. War and occupation won't work.
You can't trust the Taliban with diplomacy.

Getting out seems best to me, with international pressure to control the extremists. But, I really don't know.
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