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December 10, 2004
The Many Fronts Of The War On Terror

Two stories off the wire this morning show the diverse effort put into finding creative ways to wage the war on terror. The Pakistan Daily Times publishes a report this morning stating that an amnesty program offered by the US to Taliban members who willingly surrender their arms and commit to a peaceful political process appears to have made significant headway:

The US-led military in Afghanistan said on Wednesday that it had been contacted by Taliban members willing to lay down their weapons following an arms-for-amnesty offer by the US envoy to the country.

US military commanders operating in south and southeastern Afghanistan have been contacted by Taliban members declaring their desire to join the peaceful political process, the US-led military spokesman, Major Mark McCann, told a news briefing in Kabul.

This new strategy splits the enemy into hardliners and pragmatists and allows the pragmatists a way out of the certain defeat that Taliban hardliners have created for themselves. The defections weaken an already depeleted force with little popular support; it also increases exponentially the possibilities for intelligence gathering. Some will grumble that these amnesty cases will simply backslide into terrorist activity. Some will, more will not, and that's a net gain for our side. In the meantime, it makes recruiting new members in any significant numbers next to impossible as people understand that the Taliban's day has passed.

Not so successful is the strategy to literally screw the terrorists out of their radicalism, as one Guantanamo detainee alleged in his tribunal hearing yesterday:

An Australian terror suspect was offered the services of a prostitute by the U.S. military if he agreed to spy on other detainees held at the Guantanamo Bay base in Cuba, according to court documents. In an affidavit unsealed by a U.S. District Court and seen by Reuters on Friday, David Hicks, a 29-year-old convert to Islam, said he was also beaten while blindfolded and handcuffed, threatened with weapons and had his head rammed into asphalt. ...

"Interrogators once offered me the services of a prostitute for 15 minutes if I would spy on other detainees. I refused," Hicks said in the affidavit, which is dated Aug. 5 and witnessed by his U.S. military lawyer Major Michael Mori.

Hicks said he was deprived of showers, sufficient food, access to regular reading material and other social contact, including mail, because he failed to cooperate.

Er, sure. Where were they going to pick up a prostitute -- in Havana? It sounds like a sailor's story to me, especially given Hicks' situation. It's a message coded for Islamic ears. Americans offer nothing but whores and betrayal, comrades! Seventy-two virgins await us!

On the other hand, if something like that had worked, we could have opened up an entirely new front on the war, and made a few bucks in "agent" fees to boot ...

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 10, 2004 6:29 AM

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