Afghanistan as Tar Baby
In his latest demand on the United States, Afghan President Hamid Karzai told Susan Rice, President Obama's top national security adviser, that he will not sign the long-term security agreement that extends the stay of U.S. troops in Afghanistan through 2024 unless the United States agrees to release all 17 Afghanis being held in the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba.
Karzai views the release of the alleged terrorists, according to U.S. and Afghan officials, as a carrot to get the warring Taliban to the peace table.
In other words, American troops will be allowed to stay in harm's way in Afghanistan for an extra decade if the United States ships back to Afghanistan from Guantanamo the guys who are in all probability hellbent on killing them.
At that stage in the negotiations, Rice should have asked Karzai if he knew about Brer Rabbit. “To entrap Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox created a sticky situation by making Tar Baby, a doll made out of tar and dressed in baby clothes,” Rice could have explained. “Fighting with Tar Baby because it wouldn't talk, Brer Rabbit became stuck. Brer Fox, victorious in his capture, began listing how he might dispose of Brer Rabbit — by hanging, drowning. The cunning Brer Rabbit then said, ‘Drown me! Roast me! Hang me! Do whatever you please. Only please, Brer Fox, please don't throw me into the briar patch.'”
Slow on the uptake, Brer Fox fell for the trick. “What a wonderful idea — you'll be torn into little pieces,” said Brer Fox as he tossed Brer Rabbit head over rabbit's feet into the briar patch.
The final scene is Brer Rabbit sitting on a log, combing the tar out of his fur and then skipping merrily away. “I was bred and born in a briar patch, Brer Fox,” he said. “Born and bred in the briar patch.”
And what does this have to do with the proposed agreement that keeps our troops in Afghanistan through 2024, a deal that keeps billions of dollars in military assistance and developmental aid flowing into Afghanistan for another decade, and an agreement that Karzai says he won't sign until the guys in Guantanamo are back in town and the U.S. issues an official apology for all past civilian casualties and any other misdeeds by U.S. military?
This is how Obama's top national security adviser should have responded to Karzai's demands: “Drown us, shoot us, bomb us, hang us, throw our billions down the drain in Kabul, toss our troops into the hellholes in Kandahar, only please don't throw us out of Afghanistan, please don't throw us into Manhattan and Denver.”
Karzai, said spokesman Aimal Faizi, told Rice that he will not sign the security agreement “if another U.S. soldier steps foot into an Afghan home.” Unfortunately, Taliban insurgents build roadside bombs in homes. They don't march up to American forces in a straight line like the British Redcoats, all gussied up in black boots, tighty-whitey stockings and trousers, black felt hats and stylish red jackets. Reported Faizi, “The president said, ‘Madame Rice, the ball is in your court.' If you are under the impression the agreement will be signed … without a total ban on raids of Afghan homes, this is a serious miscalculation.”
What should Susan Rice have replied?
“Helmand Province! Kandahar City! Only please, Brer Karzai, please don't toss our troops into Seattle or Boston.”
Ralph R. Reiland is an associate professor of economics at Robert Morris University and a local restaurateur (email@example.com).
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Fayette County history could fetch big bucks at Ohio auction
- Icy roads cause accidents, slow traffic across Western Pa.
- Stakes high as ex-Saints receiver Moore faces his former team
- Earlier openings make Black Friday shopping easier for bargain-hunters
- Steelers notebook: Injury to RT Gilbert opens door for Adams to start
- Allegheny County Council wants to hike members’ $3K expense accounts
- Police identify driver in North Side crash that killed pregnant woman
- Steelers’ backups Archer, Harris ready to run
- Pitt receiver Boyd continues to grow on and off the field
- Researchers at Pa.’s top universities take to the web to fund projects
- Bushy Run Battlefield upgrades to include trail, signs, landscaping