WHAT? – AT 9:49 A.M. ET: Why do I think we're being played? Read on, from the Washington Post:
KABUL — The United States has for several years been secretly releasing high-level detainees from a military prison in Afghanistan as part of negotiations with insurgent groups, a bold effort to quell violence but one that U.S. officials acknowledge poses substantial risks.
As the United States has unsuccessfully pursued a peace deal with the Taliban, the “strategic release” program has quietly served as a live diplomatic channel, allowing American officials to use prisoners as bargaining chips in restive provinces where military power has reached its limits.
But the releases are an inherent gamble: The freed detainees are often notorious fighters who would not be released under the traditional legal system for military prisoners in Afghanistan. They must promise to give up violence — and U.S. officials warn them that if they are caught attacking American troops, they will be detained once again.
There are no absolute guarantees, however, and officials would not say whether those who have been released under the program have later returned to attack U.S. and Afghan forces once again.
“Everyone agrees they are guilty of what they have done and should remain in detention. Everyone agrees that these are bad guys. But the benefits outweigh the risks,” said one U.S. official who, like others, discussed the issue on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the program.
COMMENT: I really wonder if the benefits outweigh the risks. After all, what will these fighters do once the United States leaves Afghanisan? I suspect they'll slip right back into combat against loyal Afghan units, with horrible results.
One of the nastier things going on today is our sudden memory loss about the Taliban, what it did when it had real power in Afghanistan, and what it stands for. It was the Taliban that shielded Al Qaeda and allowed it training camps. We especially seem to have forgotten its medieval attitude toward women.
President Obama is overwhelmed with foreign problems. Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, the terminally obnoxious Zbigniew Brzezinski, says that Obama is doing a fine job. Boy, do I feel relieved at that. Point me to the nearest bunker.
May 7, 2012