I think Chris Chocola is playing with fire if the AP is accurately reporting his agreement with Senator Bill Frist on how to deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan. The relevant part of the story is this:
Chocola said he agrees with U.S. Sen. Bill Frist the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan “can’t be won with guns and bullets.”
Education and economics will be the key, he said, recalling a group of boys happily running toward U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan when he visited there. The United States has to make sure those boys grow up to see Americans as their friends who built them schools and helped their parents’ businesses, he said.
But Donnelly said the Taliban in Afghanistan shielded Osama bin Laden.
“We have to go after him hard. We need to find him and we need to kill him,” he said.
Here is what Frist said about the Taliban:
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Monday during a visit to Afghanistan that the war can never be won militarily and urged that the Taliban and their allies be brought into the government.
That’s a controversial sentiment for Chocola to endorse. I can certainly buy into the idea of co-opting allies of the Taliban. But asking Mullah Omar and the boys to come play ball with us after they harbored bin-Laden prior to 9/11 is a bit much. I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for realpolitik and a practical approach to foreign affairs. But, that soft spot doesn’t extent to the Taliban. We have a debt to settle, and we’re not done yet. Perhaps if we hadn’t diverted all those resources to George W’s Iraqi adventure, we would have progressed in Afghanistan to a point where it was acceptable to let bygones be bygones.