I Sincerely Hope This Is An AP Misquote

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If it is not, Bill Frist may as well not bother to run for anything except cover. Because there are going to be a lot of rotten tomatoes flying about.

QALAT, Afghanistan U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Monday that the Afghan guerrilla war can never be won militarily and called for efforts to bring the Taliban and their supporters into the Afghan government.

The Tennessee Republican said he had learned from briefings that Taliban fighters were too numerous and had too much popular support to be defeated by military means.

"You need to bring them into a more transparent type of government," Frist said during a brief visit to a U.S. and Romanian military base in the southern Taliban stronghold of Qalat. "And if that's accomplished we'll be successful."

Frist says it is.

First of all, let me make something clear: The Taliban is a murderous band of terrorists who’ve oppressed the people of Afghanistan with their hateful ideology long enough. America’s overthrow of the Taliban and support for responsible, democratic governance in Afghanistan is a great accomplishment that should not and will not be reversed.

Having discussed the situation with commanders on the ground, I believe that we cannot stabilize Afghanistan purely through military means. Our counter-insurgency strategy must win hearts and minds and persuade moderate Islamists potentially sympathetic to the Taliban to accept the legitimacy of the Afghan national government and democratic political processes.

National reconciliation is a necessary and an urgent priority … but America will never negotiate with terrorists or support their entry into Afghanistan’s government.

I've covered enough really bad AP reporting this year to not assume they got any of the quotes right at this point. So, I am going to wait before I fly off the handle.  

UPDATE: Sister Toldjah with a bit of common sense for those who are really getting worked up about this:

For anyone still thinking Frist is a defeatist even after his clarification, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1) Frist is out after this year. He’s not running for re-election. Rep. Harold Ford (D) and Bob Corker (R) are vying for his seat. That means, assuming we retain control of the Senate, we’ll have a new Senate Majority Leader next year.

2) How many others in the GOP support Frist’s ‘defeatist’ position? As it stands, I don’t know of any Republicans in Congress who share the pre-clarified position of Frist. But if it were a lot, don’t you think it would make more sense to leave the GOP entirely if it was a party position rather than just the position of the SML who is on his way out the door?

UPDATE: More from Ed Morrisey:

However, it does bring up an important point about the eventual end game in Afghanistan. If we want a representative democracy in Afghanistan, it will probably be heavily influenced by the Pashtuns, who have a strong Islamist bent. They did, after all, push the Taliban into power. At some point, we have to find a way to convince these Islamists to buy into democracy, and we have to be willing to allow that democracy to develop its own laws and customs. Otherwise, we will have to prop up a strongman who can keep the Pashtuns oppressed, which will create an even greater Islamist impulse in Afghanistan.

UPDATE: A lot of people weighing in now: Positive: Dan Riehl, STACLU, The Political Pit Bull, Macsmind,

Negative: Sundries Shack, Moonbattery, Daily Pundit, PoliPundit,

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6 Responses to I Sincerely Hope This Is An AP Misquote

  1. old_dawg says:

    Just another reason not to send money to the RINO National Committee of Idiots.

  2. reddog says:

    From the very beginning we have been doing exactly what Osama wanted. As Republican congressmen, at least those who aren’t theives, scoudrels or idiots and there are a suprisingly large number of them, see this, they will call for new strategies for dealing with the Islamacist threat.

    This is not about “cut and run” or “flipflopping”, this is about finding interventions that work, as opposed to the quaqmire that is currently Iraq.

    As for Frist, he is both a theif and scoundrel, but he can read the writing on the wall. He wants to go on record as having changed his mind on the Middle East before he left office, so that he is not lumped in with all the other “luminaries” who only see the light on the GWOT after they have retired or left elective office.

    It’s going to start getting really bad now. When Bush’s term is over, what they did to Nixon will seem like a sophomoric prank.

  3. Black Jack says:

    Bill Frist has given voice to a point of view which deserves to be openly debated in the public arena. There’s nothing really outside the bounds of traditional American policy being offered here as new and different. We’ve always considered a purely military approach to hostile populations likely to fail, and preferred more inclusive measures.

    Trying to put words in Frist’s mouth to make it appear he favors an extreme position does nothing positive to contribute to an understanding of his thoughts or to help bring us to consensus, it only makes a complex situation more difficult to address.

    Opportunistic Lefty hate mongering is particularly unhelpful.

  4. Bill Franklin says:

    If a Democrat had said what Frist said you’d label him a cut and runner before he finished his sentence. Finally it’s coming out that the emperor has no clothes, and those brainwashed into believing everything the administration has said are left either speechless or spinning like a top.

    I don’t understand how involing a political model called Democracy with the Taliban somehow magically solving things. It solved sweet FA in Iraq (agruably democracy has made things worse in Iraq), so how a voting Taliban solves their ideology of hatred is beyond me.

  5. Gaius says:

    Frist says he was misquoted. Given the bad behavior of the AP and other media of late, I kind of tend to think he was.

  6. Gaius says:

    But thanks for dropping by with Kerry’s talking points.

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