Patterico's Pontifications


Department of State Briefing on Afghanistan

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 8:07 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

On the same day the AP reported the White House may let the Taliban stay in power in Afghanistan, Department of State spokesman Ian Kelly gave a press briefing on the subject:

PRESS QUESTION: Ian, on Afghanistan, you know, there seems to be this kind of debate or discussion about the Taliban and al-Qaida. Some people are saying, well, maybe you can actually do business with the Taliban, maybe they are not a threat against the United States, they’re kind of an indigenous group as it is; the real threat is al-Qaida and we should go after them. What does the Secretary think? Does she believe that the Taliban themselves are a threat to the United States or is it – are they just a threat to the people in Afghanistan or – if I can use that word “just?”

MR. KELLY: Well, they’re not just a threat to the people of Afghanistan. There are young American men and women who have been killed by the Taliban. There are young men and women of our allies who have been killed by the Taliban. The Taliban hosted and encouraged al-Qaida. And the attacks of September 11, 2001 were – the idea for them was hatched in the Taliban-run Afghanistan. So I think that we do see the Taliban as a threat to U.S. security for that reason.

Having said that, I think that one thing that we’re trying to do is we are trying to emphasize our support for the Afghan people to promote the idea that we are there to provide for their security, that – to contrast what we’re doing there in terms of protecting the Afghan people and helping build a more prosperous future for them by building infrastructure projects and helping with economic development. It contrasts what we’re doing with what happened today in Kabul. The Taliban took full responsibility for this indiscriminate killing of innocent Afghans in the streets of Kabul. So I think the Taliban is a threat. I think al-Qaida is a threat. I think what we’re fighting there is this whole idea of destruction and mass murder in the name of religious extremism, and I would put them all in the same category. They’re carrying – they’re using the same tactics.”

I’m sure the State Department will “clarify” this tomorrow but one thing is already clear: The Obama Administration has mastered the art of cognitive dissonance.


16 Responses to “Department of State Briefing on Afghanistan”

  1. […] Compare this AP report with today’s State Department briefing on the […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Obama May Let Taliban Stay in Afghanistan (Updated) (e4ab32)

  2. Meanwhile, at an undisclosed location in DC, a bus is having a space cleared beneath it.

    Gazzer (22ecdc)

  3. I hope Lovey sees the bus coming before….(thump)…

    Oh!…Too late!

    AD - RtR/OS! (814db9)

  4. Robert Gibbs will explain what Ian Kelly meant to say tomorrow.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  5. The wheels on the bus do indeed go ’round and ’round.

    Ag80 (d1363b)

  6. Ian merely spoke “inartfully.”

    Gazzer (22ecdc)

  7. Hmm, divergence between the White House and State Department. It could the Democrats version of the differences between President Bush and Sec of State Powell. Or maybe Hillary is distancing herself and preparing for 2011. (I figure the campaigning for 2012 will start sometime the year before.)

    SomeOtherSteve (d88371)

  8. I guess we can add another month or so of “discussions” with State before O makes a decision.

    Patricia (c95a48)

  9. “So I think the Taliban is a threat. I think al-Qaida is a threat.”

    Next thing you know he’ll start talking about an “axis of evil” or something.

    Robin Munn (9178df)

  10. Comment by Robin Munn — 10/8/2009 @ 9:18 pm


    Dana (863a65)

  11. The Obama Administration has mastered the art of cognitive dissonance baiting,

    so they may start fishing any day now, unless they decide to just rest on their laurels as master baiters….. %-)

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  12. How could the White House be so dumb as to say the Taliban should have a role in Afghanistan?

    They are absolutely among the most horrifying rulers the Earth has ever known. Just an awful degree of cruelty and evil.

    This is EXACTLY like saying the Nazis should have a role in Germany after WWII. That’s not how you transform the Middle East into an ally or less of an enemy. Is that Obama’s goal, though?

    Dustin (bb61e3)

  13. Looking back at Obama on the campaign trail re the Taliban and Afghanistan…

    “I will end this war in Iraq responsibly and finish the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan,” he declared.

    “When John McCain said we could just muddle through in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11,” he said.

    On the campaign trail, Obama argued that the war in Iraq has drained troops and resources from the battlefield in Afghanistan, causing the situation there to deteriorate. He has described Afghanistan as “the war we need to win,” and he has pledged to send at least two more brigades of U.S. troops to reinforce the 70,000 U.S. and NATO forces already serving in the country.

    “When I am president, we will wage the war that has to be won,” Obama vowed, outlining his plans in an Aug. 1, 2007, speech at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. “(But) the first step must be getting off the wrong battlefield in Iraq, and taking the fight to the terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

    Dana (863a65)

  14. I guess Obama doesn’t have a dog in this fight. Cue Michael Vick.

    Democrats are just spineless surrender monkeys on the international stage. They hate America and Western Civilization. They want the West and America to fail. The only thing these Quislings and Chamberlains don’t understand is that when Islam takes over, they and their hedonism, and their ideas will be DEAD!!!

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  15. In terms of ground combat, Afghanistan is the longest war in US history. In Vietnam the first combat troops arrived in March 1965. The Paris Peace Accords-ending all US military involvement-were signed in Jan 1973. The last major battle before the agreement was signed-the Easter Offensive- utilized US air power and warships-but no US ground troops.

    icr (304f90)

  16. Comment by icr — 10/9/2009 @ 10:32 am
    Special Forces types were operating in SE-Asia (there are countries there other than South VietNam) as early as 1961.
    BTW, how many years did the U.S.Army fight the indigenous population for control of North America?

    AD - RtR/OS! (eaac12)

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