Trying to be too bad
Trying to talk too tough
Trying to jack the lad
You'd think he'd had enough
But he's not the man you'd think that he can be
I just don't know why you can't see
That he is only the imposter
That he is only the imposter
You've never been this far
You've always been too smart
And you know all our boys
Are really girls at heart
He'll only bring you souvenirs
It's only gonna end in tears
And he is only the imposter
(Elvis Costello, The Imposter)
If ever there was a news story that is a metaphor of the Obama presidency, it's this one. An imposter for the imposter. A fraud for a fraud.
For months, the secret talks to end the war appeared to be "showing promise," if only because of the appearance of Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, one of the most senior commanders in the Taliban movement. Not.
Mr. Mansour was not Mr. Mansour at all.
"And we gave him a lot of money.”
Obama's "moderate Taliban" -- sort of like a chaste prostitute -- does not compute. The Taliban does not share Western values, goals, objectives. The Taliban's playbook is the qur'an and its stated aims.
The whole idea of a moderate Taliban or a moderate Islam is false and Obama knows it. He grew up in a Muslim country, studied Islam and qur'an. He knows.
They have less respect for Obama than I do, if that's possible.
I loved John Hawkins' headline on this story: Most Competent White House In History Falls Victim To Taliban Equivalent Of Nigerian Email Scam
KABUL, Afghanistan — For months, the secret talks unfolding between Taliban and Afghan leaders to end the war appeared to be showing promise, if only because of the appearance of a certain insurgent leader at one end of the table: Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, one of the most senior commanders in the Taliban movement.
But now, it turns out, Mr. Mansour was apparently not Mr. Mansour at all. In an episode that could have been lifted from a spy novel, United States and Afghan officials now say the Afghan man was an impostor, and high-level discussions conducted with the assistance of NATO appear to have achieved little.
“It’s not him,” said a Western diplomat in Kabul intimately involved in the discussions. “And we gave him a lot of money.”
American officials confirmed Monday that they had given up hope that the Afghan was Mr. Mansour, or even a member of the Taliban leadership.
NATO and Afghan officials said they held three meetings with the man, who traveled from in Pakistan, where Taliban leaders have taken refuge.
The fake Taliban leader even met with President Hamid Karzai, having been flown to Kabul on a NATO aircraft and ushered into the presidential palace, officials said.
The episode underscores the uncertain and even bizarre nature of the atmosphere in which Afghan and American leaders search for ways to bring the nine-year-old American-led war to an end. The leaders of the Taliban are believed to be hiding in Pakistan, possibly with the assistance of the Pakistani government, which receives billions of dollars in American aid.
Many in the Taliban leadership, which is largely made up of barely literate clerics from the countryside, had not been seen in person by American, NATO or Afghan officials.
As recently as last month, American and Afghan officials held high hopes for the talks. Senior American officials, including Gen. David H. Petraeus, said the talks indicated that Taliban leaders, whose rank-and-file fighters are under extraordinary pressure from the American-led offensive, were at least willing to discuss an end to the war.
The American officials said they and officials of other NATO governments were helping to facilitate the discussions, by providing air transport and securing roadways for Taliban leaders coming from Pakistan.
UPDATE: John Bolton on Greta Van Susteren last night: "This Has to Be The Most Embarrassing Episode In American National Security Policy in Last 10 Years"
"It was a mistake to believe we could negotiate with the Taliban at all"