Saturday, June 25, 2005
As Scott McClellan recently explained, "The terrorists, as you see on our TV screens, are a determined and ruthless enemy that has no regard for human life. They seek to do everything they can to derail the transition to democracy. But every step of the way they have failed to stop the advance of democracy and freedom in Iraq, because the Iraqi people are defying the terrorists and defying those who seek to stop democracy from taking root . . . . . This is a time when we are seeing that the enemy is determined and ruthless in the violence that they seek to spread to try to shake our will and shake our resolve." When dealing with such implacable, murderous monsters, there is only one appropriate response -- make 'em a counteroffer:
After weeks of delicate negotiation involving a former Iraqi minister and senior tribal leaders, a small group of insurgent commanders apparently came face to face with four American officials seeking to establish a dialogue with the men they regard as their enemies.Our eminent colleague Billmon elucidates the administration's dilemma:
The talks on June 3 were followed by a second encounter 10 days later, according to an Iraqi who said that he had attended both meetings. Details provided to The Sunday Times by two Iraqi sources whose groups were involved indicate that further talks are planned in the hope of negotiating an eventual breakthrough that might reduce the violence in Iraq.
Despite months of American military assaults on supposed insurgent bases, General John Abizaid, the regional US commander, admitted to Congress last week that opposition strength was “about the same” as six months ago and that “there’s a lot of work to be done against the insurgency”.
That work now includes secret negotiations with rebel leaders, according to the Iraqi sources.
Washington seems to be gingerly probing for ways of defusing home-grown Iraqi opposition and of isolating the foreign Islamic militants who have flooded into Iraq to wage holy war against America under the command of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
And so we arrive at the heart of the problem: To salvage any ending short of total defeat in Iraq, the Cheney administration must act like those spineless, flip-flopping liberals. They have to negotiate with the terrorists, listening to their demands, trying to understand their grievances and goals -- shit, offering them therapy sessions for all I know. But at the same time, Bush also has to keep up the never-give-an-inch macho act, lest the silent majority finally grasp the dismal truth: Their sons and daughters must go on dying in the quagmire so the neocons can find a way out that doesn't involve losing too much face.