The Taliban were weak and ready to surrender in 2001 when the U.S. passed on a deal to end the war in Afghanistan. Nearly 20 years later, the U.S. did negotiate a deal — but the balance of power was very different. It favored the Taliban. https://t.co/gI1u5mzMZM— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 23, 2021
Messengers shuttled back and forth between Mr. Karzai and the headquarters of the Taliban leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, in Kandahar. Mr. Karzai envisioned a Taliban surrender that would keep the militants from playing any significant role in the country’s future.
But Washington, confident that the Taliban would be wiped out forever, was in no mood for a deal.
“We don’t negotiate surrenders,” Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld said in a news conference at the time, adding that the Americans had no interest in leaving Mullah Omar to live out his days anywhere in Afghanistan. The United States wanted him captured or dead.
As incredibly stupid and awful as I think the Trump Administration had been, it really is hard to compete with the steely-eyed ignorance and thick-skulled hubris of the Bush Administration. And of course, the Iraq War was dumb as hell and went on forever as well. What the hell does "We don't negotiate surrenders" even mean--we refuse to accept a win? They could have said--Mullah Omar turns up, you turn him over. It wouldn't have been super-satisfying, but it would have not been--this.
So many pundits, military "experts" and so on, people whose credentials have been made in participating in prolonging this tragedy, get to take up cable news real estate when they shouldn't be given the ground.
I do believe I will stay mad about this for a very long time.