WASHINGTON — President Obama’s national security team is moving to reframe its war strategy by emphasizing the campaign against Al Qaeda in Pakistan while arguing that the Taliban in Afghanistan do not pose a direct threat to the United States, officials said Wednesday.
As Mr. Obama met with advisers for three hours to discuss Pakistan, the White House said he had not decided whether to approve a proposed troop buildup in Afghanistan. But the shift in thinking, outlined by senior administration officials on Wednesday, suggests that the president has been presented with an approach that would not require all of the additional troops that his commanding general in the region has requested.
It remains unclear whether everyone in Mr. Obama’s war cabinet fully accepts this view. While Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has argued for months against increasing troops in Afghanistan because Pakistan was the greater priority, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates have both warned that the Taliban remain linked to Al Qaeda and would give their fighters havens again if the Taliban regained control of all or large parts of Afghanistan, making it a mistake to think of them as separate problems.
The Taliban must be destroyed. Their worldview is absolutist. An absolutist response is the only sane way to deal with them. Anything less is a Happy Rainbow Farting Unicorn fantasy.
There is also the problem of object lessons. The Taliban was instrumental in the 911 attacks. Such attacks need to be "punished" so severely that nobody would look at the result and think that they, and more importantly - their cause, could survive attacking us in a like manner or method. They must be taught to believe that thinking that such attacks could succeed is a dangerous and hopeless madness.
The Obama Administration is playing a dangerous game very badly.