Well, this is distressing news. First some background.
The United States government has been working with the Taliban since 30 years ago, finding them to be of great assistance in killing and otherwise demoralizing Soviet troops in Afghanistan at the time. The problem was that once the Soviets withdrew, the Taliban got the crazy notion that Afghanistan was somehow their country now. They proceeded to take over, killing and otherwise running all opposition out. But nobody on the street here paid much attention.
Until 2001, when the Taliban made world headlines by vandalizing-demolishing two giant statues of Buddha carved into the side of a stone cliff. The statues, prior to their destruction, had been considered to be world heritage sites. Not so much the Taliban.
A few weeks later renegade religious fanatic Osama bin Laden, making good on a number of such promises, pulled off the most devastating military attack on the United States homeland since December of 1941. Bin Laden and his cohorts were at the time training and taking refuge in Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan. The United States politely asked the the Taliban to turn over bin Laden so he could face justice at the hands of a detachment of Navy SEALs. The Taliban not so politely told the United States to stick it.
The United States was neither polite in response, quickly assaulting Taliban forces with everything from throwing smoke grenades to carpet bombing with B-52 bombers. The Taliban, minus a few thousand of their troops, quickly withdrew into the mountainous regions in southeastern Afghanistan and also into neighboring Pakistan. Relations between the United States and the Taliban have been mostly sour ever since.
More recently the United States and the Taliban have been in talks to bring this misunderstanding to a close so that a capitalistic and religiously moderate regime can carry out business in Afghanistan. The negotiations dragged on for weeks. Months. Apparently too long. The United States grew impatient, as it is wont to do:
Washington (CNN)Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour was killed in an airstrike Saturday in Pakistan, the White House confirmed Monday.A U.S. official said the drone strike occurred around 6 a.m. ET Saturday in a remote area of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, southwest of the town of Ahmad Wal.President Barack Obama said during his visit to Vietnam that the death of Mansour marks an “important milestone in our longstanding effort to bring peace and prosperity to Afghanistan.”
That’s one way of bringing a recalcitrant negotiator back to the table. In a box. It was not stated whether Mr. Mansour had life insurance. I am guessing not.
This marks only the most recent instance the United States has employed this method to move negotiations along. Seven decades previous Nazi leader Adolf Hitler found fit to rebuff our offer that he surrender unconditionally and march himself to the gallows. We, and our allies, bombed his country into rubble and commenced a search for his charred body. It was much the same a few months later with Japanese Prime Minister Hideki Tojo was deemed to slow to the conference table. He let it be known he would prefer to die. Our response was to embark on a campaign to kill every Japanese on the Empire’s home islands, including two entire cities obliterated by atomic bombs. The world was getting the idea that we are not nice people.
President Barack Obama has, in the past week, reaffirmed this fact. People who oppose the United States and muse that they are dealing with a fair deck eventually come up against a hard fact. And it often comes in the form of the Whispering Death.