Bolton Says Biden's Taliban Statement Wasn't Gaffe

Wednesday, 21 Dec 2011 04:12 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton said Tuesday that Joe Biden’s statement that the Taliban is not America's enemy in Afghanistan was not a gaffe, but instead the vice president was “articulating what the White House strategy is.” Biden made his remarks in a recent Newsweek interview, but the Obama administration is saying they were taken out of context.
“I don’t think this is a gaffe by Joe Biden — I think he is articulating what the White House strategy is — I think they know exactly what they are trying to do,” Bolton told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. “They are trying to redefine the terrorist threat to be a limited group of al-Qaida people along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

“They are going to redefine Taliban away from that — they are going to ignore Taliban in the Arabian Peninsula, and al-Qaida in Iraq, and al-Qaida in North Africa,” Bolton said. “And they’re going to say it’s just that one little thing: We’ve killed Osama bin Laden — the war on terror is over.”

Van Susteren noted that when she recently was in Afghanistan with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton they saw firsthand how the Taliban treats women and wondered whether the United States can really not view the Taliban as an enemy. Bolton said the Taliban treats anyone who does not agree with them horribly.

“I think this strategy is something the Democrats have looked [to] before. It reminds me of Vietnam. Remember Sen. George Aiken, the Republican of Vermont? It was clear to him that we didn’t have the stamina to go on and actually win,” Bolton said. “So the George Aiken strategy: We’ll declare victory and get out — that is what the administration is going to do in the war on terror. Having redefined who the terrorists are and having said the Taliban is not our enemy, they’re going to say we have won and the war is over.

“They are horrible to anybody who [does not] conform to their particular ideology. Let’s be clear: When we went into Afghanistan after 9/11, it was because we had gone to Mullah Omar and the Taliban and said give us al-Qaida — and if you don't you'll suffer the consequences,” he said. “They refused to do it. And under the theory that I think is still correct that if you aid terrorists you are just as guilty as terrorists, we took the Taliban government down. They had allowed al-Qaida to embed throughout their administration — they were just as guilty. If they got back in power they would be base of operations for other terrorists in the future.”

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