I'd like to learn what
“It is not an ideology they share; it is more a pragmatic political alliance
“The right course for America is not to negotiate with the Taliban while the Taliban are killing our soldiers. The right course is to recognize they’re the enemy of the United States. It’s the vice president [Joe Biden] who said they’re not the enemy of the United States. The vice president’s wrong. They are the enemy. They’re killing American soldiers.”
“Negotiating With Evil: When to Talk to Terrorists,” Mitchell Reiss
“Afghan Peace Talks: A Primer,” co-authored with James Dobbins, a former State Department official.
For the past year, Taliban representatives have been holding secret meetings with German and American officials in Europe and Qatar to engage in “talks about talks.” The discussions reportedly began in earnest when the Obama administration relaxed its prerequisites for any dialogue at the beginning of last year. U.S. officials had previously insisted that the Taliban end its ties with al-Qaida, renounce violence and accept Afghanistan’s constitution as a requirement to begin any talks. They now accept that these steps can be taken at the end of the negotiations as part of a formal peace agreement.
The administration has increasingly seen such a negotiated peace agreement as an essential complement to intensified NATO military operations in Afghanistan. Despite the surge in troops and other resources that have entered Afghanistan over the past two years, NATO forces and their Afghan allies acknowledge that they cannot plausibly hope to militarily defeat the Taliban insurgency. Although engaging in talks will enhance the movement’s legitimacy, this might be an acceptable concession if it accelerates actual negotiations and does not simply allow the Taliban to run out the clock until NATO withdraws most of its troops from Afghanistan in 2014, as planned.
U.S. officials hope to see an office for the Taliban’s negotiating team open in Qatar in a few weeks, with negotiations underway in time for the NATO summit in Chicago this May. Several Taliban leaders have already begun moving to Qatar in anticipation of the talks, and the fact that they are bringing their families with them suggests they believe the negotiating process could last a while.
KABUL—The U.S. and Afghan governments have begun secret three-way talks with the Taliban, Afghan President Hamid Karzai told The Wall Street Journal, disclosing an important breakthrough in efforts to end the 10-year war.
Mr. Karzai, whose government had protested being left out of recent talks between Washington and the insurgents, added he believes most Taliban are "definitively" interested in a peace settlement.
"There have been contacts between the U.S. government and the Taliban, there have been contacts between the Afghan government and the Taliban, and there have been some contacts that we have made, all of us together, including the ...
I'm still here.
Frankly, I don't think foreign policy will change significantly no matter who is elected. The US will continue to be the bully in the schoolyard. I wish that would change, but what is...IS.
The question, however, is DO YOU AGREE WITH OBAMA'S DECISION TO START KILLING MORE PEOPLE? THEN WHY DO YOU SUPPORT HIM?
To the first, I say: I think Obama will probably end up killing (or ordering killed) no more than most previous presidents. In fact, if the Middle East does not flare up...he may go down in history as the least killing president ever.
To the second I say: Because the safety net programs now in place will probably be safer than with a Republican in the Oval Office...and any chance of improving the general safety net will be much, much better under Obama than under a Republican.
Special Ops commander vows better life for 66,000 troops
The commander of America's most elite fighting forces — responding to a groundswell of complaints raised by Navy SEALs, Army Special Forces and Marine and Air Force commandos — is promising to improve the quality of their personal lives, suffering in the wake of continuous fighting over 10 years.
Adm. William McRaven, head of Special Operations Command, said a key concern is how seasoned troops are leaving after about 10 years because of the all-consuming nature of their work.
"This pace has robbed you and your families of any sense of predictability and 'white space' (free time together)," Adm. William McRaven, the head of U.S.Special Operations Command, wrote to his 66,000 troops last month after an internal "sensing" study of the force last year uncovered quality-of-life concerns.
"I want you to know that I hear you! I am aware of the strain placed on you and I am personally committed to alleviating the pressure you and your families are dealing with in these difficult times," McRaven wrote in an e-mail obtained by USA TODAY.
I want to add that I was surprised that Robert Gentel would use such a blatantly skewed thread title.
The United States has begun launching drone strikes against suspected al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen under new authority approved by President Obama that allows the CIA and the military to fire even when the identity of those who could be killed is not known, U.S. officials said.
The policy shift marks a significant expansion of the clandestine drone war against an al-Qaeda affiliate that has seized large pieces of territory in Yemen and is linked to a series of terrorist plots against the United States.
U.S. officials said that Obama approved the use of “signature” strikes this month and that the killing of an al-Qaeda operative near the border of Yemen’s Marib province this week was among the first attacks carried out under the new authority.
The decision to give the CIA and the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) greater leeway is almost certain to escalate a drone campaign that has accelerated significantly this year, with at least nine strikes in under four months. The number is about equal to the sum of airstrikes all last year.
The expanded authority will allow the CIA and JSOC to fire on targets based solely on their intelligence “signatures” — patterns of behavior that are detected through signals intercepts, human sources and aerial surveillance, and that indicate the presence of an important operative or a plot against U.S. interests.
Until now, the administration had allowed strikes only against known terrorist leaders who appear on secret CIA and JSOC target lists and whose location can be confirmed.