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Hot Stuff on the Afghan Peace Deal Snafu

Do you want to know the real reason Trump canceled the peace talks with the Taliban? Okay, here’s the hot poop. Our satellites detected goats. Yes, you read that correctly, goats, goats in goated communities. There was no mistake. Goats grazed on some of them there hills in Afghanistan. Now of course, goats, by themselves, are no problemo. The intelligence community has briefed Trump of this at the highest possible level. But goats are a marker for mountains, and mountains are hard on our high tech prying eyes in the sky. We’re not good at seeing through rock. Osama bin Laden hid in the mountains of Tora Bora for ten years after he was dead.. Terrorists might conceal weddings in the valleys, and “wedding,” let’s face it, is just another name for “terrorist pow-wow.”

Why would you have mountains if you weren’t planning to mount a terrorist attack? So our negotiators, very reasonably, asked the Taliban to level them off. Take a couple of bulldozers and just smooth those suckers out. Let Afghanistan resembles the Central Valley in California. What’s the problem? We’ll pay for it. Wouldn’t you rather live in California than Afghanistan? Well, if you can believe it, they balked! They didn’t want to flatten all their mountains and turn Afghanistan into the Central Valley of California. Perhaps they twigged that all the booty in California is on the coast. If so there is a weak link somewhere high up in our chain of command. Somebody must be working for the Russians.

Our negotiators were more than reasonable. They pointed out that the Central Valley produced a cornucopia of peaches, apricots and avocados. Such a deal. What did Afghanistan produce other than poppies and terrorists? To show our good faith we even offered to supply all the pesticides and fungicides and Franken-seeds to produce a bumper crop of peachatoes, a gene-crossed hybrid of peach and tomato. It grows a dandy fruit the size of a lima bean that tastes like shite, and which, our experts assured them, was the best science could grow in a flattened Afghanistan. Unaccountably, they declined the offer, and they are not inching back in the direction of the negotiating table as the Iranians, sources close to the administration have hinted, may or may not be doing.

Our negotiators even upped the ante. They were willing to drop their objection to trees, even though trees pose a similar grave security risk. Where there are trees there is shade, and where there is shade things can go on without the purview of our intelligence community. Things can happen in the shade. Why else have shade? Trees only appeared on the intelligence community’s radar when the spy in the sky began to look down and protect our freedoms from above. As soon as we could spy on everything trees revealed their menace. Trees hinder full-spectrum surveillance. “Tree” is just another word for “terrorist pow-pow.” Things were happening under trees that the intelligence community did not know about. I repeat, “things were happening that the intelligence community did not know about.” Civilization might end. In the Homeland, closed circuit television rode to the rescue like the Lone Ranger. But not in Afghanistan. Our negotiators thought it only fair that if we were going to withdraw from Afghanistan that they cut down all their trees. I mean fair is fair. But, bending over backwards, our negotiators chose to withdraw our objection to trees, even though they posed a grave security threat, in return for their flattening all their mountains. Tit for tat, right? Of course in negotiating at all they showed weakness, which makes one wonder if somebody isn’t working for the Russians.

Well, as you can imagine, with all that negotiating, our negotiators are plumb tuckered out. “Pooped,” in diplomacy speak. That, in a nutshell, is why the war continues. The negotiators are pooped. It’s been an eleven plus month long slog in Doha, Qatar, hammering out what they hope will be a just and equitable peace that defends freedom and justice and women and children and democracy and capitalism and the great American way. By lunch each day they can only drag their assets to Chez Paris where the panty-clad waitress quenches a fiery thirst with a pitcher of dry martinis. Eleven plus months in the diplomatic trenches! The guys and gals in Afghanistan shouldn’t think they are the only ones ready to give the last full measure of devotion. They too soldier on who only negotiate in Doha, hammering out the details in tough-minded hard-nosed toe-to-toe confrontation with the bad guys, and surviving only on the aforementioned martinis and, from happy hour on, single malt scotch. To a man and woman the negotiators want everyone to know they are truly, truly semi-conscious that Americans are dying and being wounded somewhere out there while they hammer out those details. And yes they know that when all the i’s are dotted, the t’s crossed and the deal finally signed, it will go straight into the crapper the moment they climb aboard the jet back to Georgetown.

For once the Former United States leaves Afghanistan its interests there will count for exactly zilch on anyone’s pros-and-ons list. The negotiators know their work is a charade, but if they don’t stand toe-to-toe and eyeball-to-eyeball with the bad guys who knows what could happen? Civilization might end. Seen from a certain angle, that their work is pointless only makes it that much more heroic. Furthermore, lest we go off half-cocked, we all have to remember: the Taliban are, at the end of the day, the Taliban. If anything looks bad, it is all their fault (and, of course, that of the Russians).

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Michael Doliner studied with Hannah Arendt at the University of Chicago and has taught at Valparaiso University and Ithaca College. He can be reached at: planeofexistence@gmail.com.

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