STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Will the West Pay Off the Taliban?
By Staff News & Analysis - February 01, 2010

There will clearly be men who are only fighting with the Taliban because of the $10 a day they pay them, and who will likely give up their weapons in exchange for a more lucrative job or some land and a pension. But the overwhelming likelihood is that throwing money at the Taliban will not do the trick. The Talib fighters recruited from the religious schools in Pakistan have not taken up arms for money… they have taken up arms for Islam, and their very extremist version of it. I met many of them when they first took over Kabul back in 1996. They had no interest in material wealth whatsoever. They were obsessed with imposing their strict rules on society and remain that way today. And as part of that they see it as their mission to retake control of the country. The foreign fighters supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan are also driven by ideology not dosh. They will continue to try to kill British soldiers. And imagine the reaction of the ordinary hardworking Afghan villager if he hears itʼs the men who have caused all the trouble who will get all the money. And this is the point here. The war in Afghanistan will not be won by bribing the Taliban. It will be won by wooing ordinary Afghans in villages and towns… persuading them weʼre there to help them, not to kill them. The new strategy is worth trying simply because weʼve reached a stage when anything is worth trying. But donʼt hold your breath. One thing is clear this weekend… in Washington and London they want out and they want out quickly. Itʼs just a question of whether we can do so with our heads held high or our tails between our legs. – UK Mirror

Dominant Social Theme: Innovative West proves increasingly flexible about winning war.

Free-Market Analysis: The West may prove so flexible about the Afghan war that it may eventually simply declare victory and leave. Of course, this flies in the face of the additional 30,000 troops that the Pentagon is committing to the fight. But it may be that the additional troops are intended as leverage to squeeze the Taliban into negotiating.

Yesterday, we pointed out that the West – and especially America – is actually at war with the Pashtun tribe that basically populates Afghanistan and Pakistan. Even the Taliban is Pashtun. We read recently that an entire Pashtun tribe in Afghanistan booted the Taliban and decided to support the current government (also made up of Pashtun elements.) This implies that the Taliban aren't the ultimate authority – tribal Pashtun leaders may have plenty of clout.

The payola strategy brings up other questions, from our point of view. If the West is so willing to make a deal with the Taliban, does this mean that the West will tolerate the re-emergence of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, and even Pakistan? If it does take place, will Western troops redeploy?

The reason that Western leaders seem suddenly willing to negotiate with the Taliban is that, in our opinion, Al Qaeda likely doesn't really exist – certainly not as a pan-global and terrifying Islamofascist movement. There are "bad guys" who are anti-Western (not surprisingly at this point) and want to hurt the West. But when you trace down their affiliations you usually find the Taliban, Pashtuns, Iranians or other state-oriented elements involved.

A free-floating Bin Laden sponsored entity of anti-Western terrorists is neither feasible nor operative, or not over the long term. Instead, the concept has signifiers of a power elite dominant social theme designed to frighten Western citizens and make them more apt to tolerate additional authoritarianism and state control. Al Qaeda is, from this point of view, a great portmanteau Bogeyman. It can be identified and utilized for propaganda purposes almost anywhere. Here's an InfoWars article by passenger Kurt Haskell on the controversial near-miss bombing attempt that took place on Flight 253 recently.

The Sharp Dressed Man Who Aided Mutallab Onto Flight 253 Was a U.S. Government Agent … Please note that in the article that follows, I am not claiming that the U.S. Government knew Mutallab had a bomb or intended to hurt anyone on Flight 253 when the U.S. Government let him board:

Since our flight landed on Christmas Day, Lori and I have been doing everything in our power to uncover the truth about why we were almost blown up in the air over Detroit. The truth is now finally out after the publication of the following Detroit News article …

Let me quote from the article: "Patrick F. Kennedy, an undersecretary for management at the State Department, said Abdulmutallab's visa wasn't taken away because intelligence officials asked his agency not to deny a visa to the suspected terrorist over concerns that a denial would've foiled a larger investigation into al-Qaida threats against the United States.

"Revocation action would've disclosed what they were doing," Kennedy said in testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security. Allowing Adbulmutallab to keep the visa increased chances federal investigators would be able to get closer to apprehending the terror network he is accused of working with, "rather than simply knocking out one solider in that effort."‘

With the information we already knew and the admission from the above referenced Detroit News article, we have evidence and claims made by government officials that the U.S. Government wanted Mutallab to proceed into the U.S. in order to obtain information on other terrorists involved with him. Once we take this statement and add it to my eyewitness account of a "Sharp Dressed Man" escorting Mutallab through the boarding process and allowing him to baord without a valid passport we can make the connection that the "Sharp Dressed Man" was a U.S. Government offical/agent.

This is pretty strong stuff. What Haskell seems to be concluding (without frankly admitting it) is that either FBI/intel higher-ups apparently knew that Mutalleb was carrying an incompetently designed bomb in his underwear – and thus were not too worried about his attempt to blow up the plane – or they DIDN'T know but helped place him on the plane anyway. If they knew, they were certainly putting passengers at risk. If they didn't know, they certainly run the risk of looking incompetent from the perspective of the public that they are purportedly protecting.

Conspiracy theorists will likely have a field day with this information, believing it justifies the contention that Anglo-American intelligence agencies are exaggerating and even encouraging terror threats. The constant drumbeat of information about a mythical, worldwide, militant Al Qaeda network falls right into line with this contention. (As does the apparent factoid that controversial body-scanners were reportedly on order BEFORE the underwear-bomb incident.)

It seems fairly clear after all of this, that there are simply too many questions to take governmental proclamations about the war on terror entirely at face value. Al Qaeda is a questionable entity at best. Bin Laden is likely dead and now it appears that US intel is directly facilitating the entrée of bomb-laden terrorists into the US. Please note, by the way, that much of the information trickling into the mainstream on these issues is taking place through the gateway of the Internet's alternative press.

It used to be that elite promotions, if challenged, could be beaten back through a variety of methodologies. This crisis-management approach to sustaining dominant social themes is still being attempted. But what the elite doesn't seem to understand (mainly because there are no alternatives) is that there are no crises left. There is no way to simply combat a meme and dispose of the skeptics. The Internet is a PROCESS of communication, a never-ending stream of information that will continue to undermine elite promotions. It happened before during the era of the Gutenberg press, which saw massive societal shifts as the conventional wisdom – and sociopolitical consensus – broke down.

After Thoughts

We're on record as saying that the "war on terror" – as a dominant social theme – is no less subject to these influences, (as mentioned above), than, say, global warming. The attempt to "buy off" the Taliban is further evidence of flimsy basis on which the war on terror is built. (Yesterday's terrorist is tomorrow's paid-in-full employee?) Because military and police forces are so integral to the elite's fragile sense of security, and ability to maintain its enormous wealth, we also believe this theme is bound to prove a very stubborn one and will be tenaciously defended. But eventually we think it will be washed away, a victim of its own internal contradictions and the Internet. Might as well try to plug a leaky dike.

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