Biden's Inadvertent Path to Peace in Afghanistan

Kyle-Anne Shiver & Lee Cary
Without knowing it, Vice President Biden suggested a path to peace in the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan: Hire them.

The Obama administration, speaking through the mouth of Joe Biden, has parsed the Taliban membership like a verb.  

On March 10, at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jaap De Hopp Scheffer, Biden said this:

Well, let me just say -- and to paraphrase Secretary Holbrooke, our Special Envoy, and I agree with his assessment after numerous visits to the region and throughout the country -- 5 percent of the Taliban is incorrigible, not susceptible to anything other than being defeated.  Another 25 percent or so are not quite sure, in my view, the intensity of their commitment to the insurgency.  And roughly 70 percent are involved because of the money, because of them being -- getting paid.

So, 7 out of every 10 Taliban are latent capitalists.  They’re in it for the money. Motivated by profit.

Okay, then. The obvious solution (but not so obvious that Biden has suggested it, as far as we know) is to hire that 70% of the Taliban not to fight for the Taliban by paying them more than their current fighting wage.  

Supposedly, the “moderate” element of the Taliban, those that the Obama administration hopes to reach out to, represent the 25 percent with unsure “intensity of their commitment to the insurgency.”  In comparison, the 70 percent, al la Holbrooke et al, are pure mercenaries.  As for the 5 percent, they’ll soon smell the green tea and sign up for a hand out.

What’s the hold up? Add a few more billion to the next stimulus bill for Taliban Non-violent Aid to be administered by, say, the Red Crescent organization.  

Give peace a chance.


Without knowing it, Vice President Biden suggested a path to peace in the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan: Hire them.

The Obama administration, speaking through the mouth of Joe Biden, has parsed the Taliban membership like a verb.  

On March 10, at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jaap De Hopp Scheffer, Biden said this:

Well, let me just say -- and to paraphrase Secretary Holbrooke, our Special Envoy, and I agree with his assessment after numerous visits to the region and throughout the country -- 5 percent of the Taliban is incorrigible, not susceptible to anything other than being defeated.  Another 25 percent or so are not quite sure, in my view, the intensity of their commitment to the insurgency.  And roughly 70 percent are involved because of the money, because of them being -- getting paid.

So, 7 out of every 10 Taliban are latent capitalists.  They’re in it for the money. Motivated by profit.

Okay, then. The obvious solution (but not so obvious that Biden has suggested it, as far as we know) is to hire that 70% of the Taliban not to fight for the Taliban by paying them more than their current fighting wage.  

Supposedly, the “moderate” element of the Taliban, those that the Obama administration hopes to reach out to, represent the 25 percent with unsure “intensity of their commitment to the insurgency.”  In comparison, the 70 percent, al la Holbrooke et al, are pure mercenaries.  As for the 5 percent, they’ll soon smell the green tea and sign up for a hand out.

What’s the hold up? Add a few more billion to the next stimulus bill for Taliban Non-violent Aid to be administered by, say, the Red Crescent organization.  

Give peace a chance.