[guest post by Dana]
This is really unbelievable. Well, it would be if it was any other president…
Just days before the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that left nearly 3,000 dead, there was to have been a a meeting to discuss peace at Camp David with leaders of the Taliban, who recently justified al Qaeda’s attack on 9/11. We are now learning that the meeting has been cancelled because Taliban members admitted to killing 12 innocent people, including one US soldier in a car bomb attack on Thursday:
Of course it’s incredible that a sitting U.S. president would invite leaders of the Taliban, a solidly untrustworthy organization that has allied themselves to al-Qaeda, to the private country retreat of U.S. presidents to talk peace and give them political legitimacy in doing so.
After Trump informed America about the meeting and subsequent cancellation, his loyal supporters provided cover for him for having invited Taliban leaders to Camp David in the first place. Most spectacularly, Rep. Liz Cheney manipulatively defended the President, not by what she said, but by what she didn’t say:
Camp David is where America’s leaders met to plan our response after al Qaeda, supported by the Taliban, killed 3000 Americans on 9/11.
No member of the Taliban should set foot there. Ever.
The Taliban still harbors al Qaeda.
The President is right to end the talks.
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) September 8, 2019
While everything she said in the tweet is true, she is simultaneously asking all of us to believe that Trump had nothing to do with signing off on hosting Taliban leaders at Camp David days before the anniversary of 9/11. Cheney knows better, and we know better. She is willing to sacrifice credibility to protect the President and some bad decision making. A decision that is being defended by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo:
If you’re going to negotiate peace, you often have to deal with some pretty bad actors.
I know the history, too, at Camp David. Indeed, President Trump reflected on that — we all considered when debating how to try and get to the right ultimate outcome. Well, there have often been discussions about war at Camp David. There have been discussions about peace there as well. There have been some been pretty bad actors travel through that place throughout recorded history. It’s an important place. It’s a place where we thought we could convince all the leaders of Afghanistan — President Ghani and his team, as well as the Taliban — we could convince them to begin to head in a direction that would create better conditions on the ground in Afghanistan not only for the Afghans, but better security for the American people as well.”
Here is some background on the peace agreement document that was finalized, at least “in principle”:
That deal, criticized by Afghan officials for lacking measures that would ensure stability, would include a timeline of about 16 months for a gradual withdrawal of the remaining 14,000 American troops, with about 5,000 of them leaving in 135 days after its signing. In return, the Taliban would provide counterterrorism assurances to ease American fears of repeat of attacks on home soil — such as the attacks by Al Qaeda on Sept. 11, 2001, that precipitated the war in Afghanistan.
Afghan officials said the American side had taken the liberty of negotiating on their behalf the release of thousands of Taliban prisoners in Afghan prisons. Mr. Ghani’s government found that unacceptable, and said it would agree to it only if the Taliban reciprocated with an extensive cease-fire — something the insurgents are reluctant to do at this stage of the talks, with violence their main leverage.
The final rounds of negotiations — and even Mr. Trump’s invitation for a summit meeting at Camp David — had occurred during a period of intensifying violence, including the killing of American soldiers…
The White House is discussing new dates for a possible meeting. Dates and locations were not mentioned.
While @BarackObama is slashing the military, he is also negotiating with our sworn enemy the Taliban–who facilitated 9/11.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2012
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)