Monday, July 13, 2009

Obama Appointee: I see "nothing objectionable" about the Taliban

President Obama has ordered national security officials to look into allegations that the Bush administration resisted efforts to investigate a CIA-backed Afghan warlord over the killings of hundreds of Taliban prisoners in 2001.

Obama officials asserted on Friday that there weren't sufficient grounds to look into such allegations, but apparently, the "Waffler in Chief" has changed his mind:
"The indications that this had not been properly investigated just recently was brought to my attention," Obama told CNN's Anderson Cooper in an exclusive interview during the president's visit to Ghana...

"So what I've asked my national security team to do is to collect the facts for me that are known, and we'll probably make a decision in terms of how to approach it once we have all of the facts gathered up," Obama said....

When asked by CNN whether he would support an investigation, the president replied, "I think that, you know, there are responsibilities that all nations have, even in war. And if it appears that our conduct in some way supported violations of laws of war, then I think that, you know, we have to know about that."...
You can tell that the president, whose poll numbers are starting to plummet as a result of his bumbling incompetence, is starting to feel the heat, when he resorts to a myriad of investigations of the Bush administration to bolster his popularity.

Nevertheless, here's another interesting, and perhaps somewhat related, tidbit:

The President on Friday tapped Mr. Glyn Davies - who served as State Dept. spokesman under former President Bill Clinton - to be the US envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna.

In September of 1996, Mr. Davies, stated that he saw "nothing objectionable" about the Taliban imposing its strict interpretation of Islamic law.

From the Washington Post - November 6, 2001:
Each year, the State Department formally rebukes and imposes penalties on governments that protect and promote terrorists. But since 1996, when the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, the nation harboring Osama bin Laden has never made the department's list of terrorist-sponsoring countries.

The omission reflects more than a decade of vexing relations between the United States and Afghanistan, a period that found the State Department more focused on U.S. oil interests and women's rights than on the growing terrorist threat, according to experts and current and former officials...

The day after the Taliban seized Kabul in September 1996, the State Department spokesman, Glyn Davies, encountered tough questions from American reporters.

Victorious in a brutal fight against rival factions, the Taliban claimed power after castrating and killing former President Najibullah and hanging the corpses of him and his brother from a post at the entrance to the presidential palace.

Mr. Davies reported the events matter-of-factly and told reporters the United States saw "nothing objectionable" about the Taliban imposing its strict interpretation of Islamic law.

"So let me get this straight," a reporter asked. "This group, this Islamic fundamentalist group that has taken Afghanistan by force and summarily executed the former president, the United States is holding out possibility of relations?"

"I'm not going to prejudge where we're going to go with Afghanistan," Mr. Davies said...

Throughout the mid-1990s, a U.S. oil company was tracking the outcome of the Afghan conflict. Unocal, a California-based energy giant, was seeking rights to build a pipeline system across Afghanistan, connecting the vast oil and natural gas reserves of Turkmenistan to a plant and ports in Pakistan.

State Department officials promoted Unocal's pipeline project in their role of helping U.S. companies find investments in the region, Ms. Raphel said.

Before Unocal, the Taliban "were just a bunch of wild jihadists running around. They came out of nowhere," said Richard Dekmejian, a University of Southern California terrorism specialist, using the Islamic term for holy warriors.

In a late 1997 public relations move, Unocal flew Taliban officials to tour the company's U.S. offices. They took a side trip to the beach, then flew to Washington for meetings in the Capitol and at the State Department to press their case for U.S. recognition.

But the visit only fueled the outrage of women's rights groups who were incensed by Unocal's coziness with the regime. However, among the State Department's old hands, "there was a lot of putting down, like these women didn't know what they were talking about," said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation...
I could only imagine what kind of cozy relationship Barack Obama would have cultivated with the Taliban had he been president at the time. As ruthless and blood-thirsty as these thugs may be, he too, probably would have seen nothing "objectionable" about the Taliban...

No comments: