February 2015, #2     

By Victor Volsky             

An “Equitable” Exchange                                    


When the Germans who had captured Stalin’s son Jacob offered to exchange him for Field Marshal von Paulus taken prisoner at Stalingrad, Jacob’s father turned them down. “I’m not in the business of exchanging a private for a field marshal”, Stalin reportedly said.

This episode came to mind when I was listening to the beyond-idiotic explanations of the White House spokesmen as to why five top Taliban leaders had been released from Guantanamo in exchange for U.S. Army Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl in violation of Washington’s official policy never to negotiate with terrorists. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that swapping five enemy generals for a private, who was in all probability a deserter or maybe even a defector, was the height of stupidity bordering on treason (aiding and abetting the enemy).

The only justification for the White House is that the “exchange” was likely nothing of the kind: it seems it was just a ploy to provide Obama with cover to release another batch of Guantanamo prisoners and appease the Taliban. In short, I believe that Bowe Bergdahl was a red herring, pure and simple. And to add insult to injury, not only has the American taxpayer been duped, he must have been fleeced for the privilege into the bargain.

Bergdahl had been held by the Haqqani Network that has nothing to do with the Taliban and so lacked any incentive to release its valuable asset, particularly considering that apart from terrorist activities it is also engaged in purely criminal activities, including kidnappings for ransom. Thus it appears that those hoodlums would not have let their American “guest” go unless they were handsomely paid.

But to return to the explanation provided by the White House spokesmen: the Taliban is not a terrorist organization because, unlike Al-Qaeda, it operates only within Afghanistan’s borders and thus should be considered merely as an “armed insurgency.” This “legal theory” neatly fits into the administration’s attempts to play down the danger of terrorism, to portray the worldwide terrorist tide as a panoply of indigenous insurgencies pursuing their local objectives and having nothing to do with one another.

The truth, however, is that they are all connected by their religion which is in effect a radical ideology of global conquest. The Muslims are commanded by the Quran to make war on the infidels till the final triumph of the true faith. It’s their religious duty. Whatever their local differences, all so called “indigenous insurgencies” are united in their religious zeal and prepared to fight to the death until they achieve their ultimate goal of establishing world supremacy of Islam. One has to be blind not to see that a civilizational conflict, prophesied by the late, great Samuel Huntington, is underway in which no tie is possible - one side has to win, the other to lose.

Obama and his ilk deny this reality. In their worldview the West, and above all the United States, is to blame for all the ills on Earth, while the denizens of the Third World are innocent victims of colonialism and imperialism. And when some of them engage in “violent extremism” (not “terrorism” - Obama hates the word), it should be treated as an understandable, all but justified reaction to the depredations of the “imperialists” on the part of basically nice people who can be redeemed and led to the path of goodness by kindness and good will.

Recognizing the Islamic terrorists for what they really are would undermine the whole structure of progressive ideology, which explains the Obama administration’s extreme reluctance to combat the terrorist threat. But the White House is particularly keen to persuade the American people that Taliban is an entirely local phenomenon, just one of the many actors on the political stage of Afghanistan.

Obama hopes to pool the wool over his compatriots’ eyes, to make them believe that he is withdrawing the U.S. troops from a pacified and normalized Afghanistan, just as he had promised. The American people must be made to believe that U.S. has done its duty and can go away with its head held high, and whatever happens in that country from now on is none of our business.

In fact the United States is, of course, retreating from Afghanistan in disarray, abandoning its local allies to their fate. For all their crass stupidity and naiveté the foreign policy “experts” of Obama’s administration can’t but understand that they are leaving Afghanistan to the tender mercies of the Taliban whom only a miracle will prevent from regaining power once the Americans leave for good.

It is easy to imagine the kind of indignation and disgust the American people would feel when it transpires that the terrorists have returned to power in Afghanistan and that all the blood and treasure had been spent there for naught. But if Americans can be persuaded that the Taliban is a run-of-the-mill political movement and that the turbulence in Afghanistan is a result of ordinary political infighting of the kind everybody has come to observe and detest in Washington, D.C., then it’s an entirely different thing. The American people would turn their back on Afghanistan and pretty soon forget that that country exists.

Hence the ostensibly absurd, but actually quite logical attempt by the Administration to color the Taliban as a conventional insurgent movement and whitewash the Afghan terrorists, hoping to pass off one of Barack Obama’s major foreign policy disasters as a triumph of his “peace-loving diplomacy.” Hence the President’s tireless efforts to convince the public not to “exaggerate” the terrorist threat. Hence his national security advisor’s blatant declaration that never has America been as secure as it is today.

And I am not at all certain that the White House will not achieve its objective. The thoroughly zombified American public earns to be reassured that there is no reason to wake up and abandon its pursuit of pleasure. After all, there is so much interesting stuff in the world. Like the size of Kim Kardashian’s rear end, for instance.


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