UPDATE: Frist denies that he surrendered to the Taliban. Captain’s Quarters (thanks to Bill) has this email from him:
First of all, let me make something clear: The Taliban is a murderous band of terrorists who”ve oppressed the people of Afghanistan with their hateful ideology long enough. America’s overthrow of the Taliban and support for responsible, democratic governance in Afghanistan is a great accomplishment that should not and will not be reversed.
Having discussed the situation with commanders on the ground, I believe that we cannot stabilize Afghanistan purely through military means. Our counter-insurgency strategy must win hearts and minds and persuade moderate Islamists potentially sympathetic to the Taliban to accept the legitimacy of the Afghan national government and democratic political processes.
National reconciliation is a necessary and an urgent priority “¦ but America will never negotiate with terrorists or support their entry into Afghanistan’s government.
Saying the war can’t be won is one thing. It is certainly true that a Wilsonian democracy initiative in Afghanistan is doomed to failure and always has been. Those who believe Sharia is the law of God are not going to exchange it readily for a legal system based on human consensus. But to say that the Taliban should be brought into the government — that’s a slap in the face of the American fighting forces who have been fighting and dying for five years now to keep them out of the government.
Both Karzai and the Taliban, and all the rest, should be put on notice that the jihad ideology will not be tolerated, and nor will a Sharia state that institutionalizes restrictions on freedom of conscience and oppression of women and religious minorities. But not tolerated in what way? America would have to occupy Afghanistan with a much larger force, and for a much longer period, in order to ensure this. Our forces would be better deployed in other ways, after an intelligent evaluation of the reality and magnitude of the jihad threat. And Afghanistan? It would get not a penny of American aid as long as it allowed the preaching of warfare against and subjugation of infidels.
“Frist says Taliban can’t be defeated,” from AP:
QALAT, Afghanistan — U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Monday that the Afghan war against Taliban guerrillas can never be won militarily and called for efforts to bring the Islamic militia and its supporters into the Afghan government.
The Tennessee Republican said he learned from briefings that Taliban fighters are too numerous and have too much popular support to be defeated on the battlefield.
“You need to bring them into a more transparent type of government,” Frist said during a brief visit to a U.S. and Romanian military base in the southern Taliban stronghold of Qalat. “And if that’s accomplished, we’ll be successful.”
Without knowing anything about the nature and goals of the global jihad, you can’t possibly know what success even is in this conflict.