[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
It's hard sometime to believe the blithering, fact-free idiocy that passes for Beltway wisdom these days. Take David Gregory interviewing everyone's favorite Sunday talk-show guest, John McCain:
MR. GREGORY: I have a question that keeps nagging me about the enemy, about the Taliban.Can anyone tell me what the hell these two people are talking about? Or why they are considered wise and worthy voices to spend our time listening to on a Sunday morning?
SEN. McCAIN: Yeah.
MR. GREGORY: The United States is engaged in working with the Afghan central government to recruit Afghan soldiers. Why do we have to recruit Afghan soldiers? Who's training the Taliban? Nobody has to recruit them. They're out there fighting for, you know, what they see as a future. Which is, by the way, is a dark, terrorist, annihilist future. Nevertheless, they don't have to be recruited, and yet we're in this position where we're trying to recruit Afghan soldiers.
SEN. McCAIN: You know, that's a very good question. And it's clear that the Taliban is a very extremist and very fanatical element, and I think this is true with all insurgencies. But I think you also find that the majority of the people in Afghanistan do not want the return of the Taliban. They're afraid, though, that when the United States leaves that there will be assassination squads going around and taking care of those who cooperated with the government and the Americans. Look, Karzai is not doing the things we want him to do. I don't think there's any doubt about that in many respects. Maliki was not doing the things we wanted...
MR. GREGORY: In Iraq.
SEN. McCAIN: ...us to do. He was perceived as very weak. The level of sectarian violence in Iraq makes what's going on in Afghanistan pale in comparison, and I'm not saying it's not going to be long and hard and tough, and I'm not saying that it's going to be easy. And I--but I am convinced of one thing, you--fundamental of warfare, you tell the enemy when you're leaving, that--then they will wait. And Ho Chi Minh certainly is an authentication of that, of that course of action.
Because Al Qaeda recruits all the time. It's a major part of their relative success. (Just Google "Al Qaeda recruitment" for a sample.)
Of course, it doesn't hurt that idiocy like this makes it possible for the United States to significantly improve the climate for recruitment of Al Qaeda terrorists, either.