One day, a scorpion reached a river he wanted to cross. He saw a frog on the other side and called out, “Would you be so kind as to give me a ride on your back across the river?”
“How do I know that if I help you, you wont try to kill me?” asked the frog hesitantly.
“Because,” the scorpion replied, “If I try to kill you, then I would die, too, for you see I cannot swim!”
So the frog agreed. He swam over, and the scorpion crawled onto the frog’s back.
Halfway across the river, the frog felt a sharp sting and felt himself grow numb.
“You fool!” croaked the frog. “Now we shall both die! Why on earth did you do that?”
The scorpion shrugged and said, “I couldn’t help myself. It’s my nature.”
On the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death, President Barack Obama highlighted a security agreement he and Afghan President Hamid Karzai had signed that purported to usher in “a future in which the war ends, and a new chapter begins.” The president also said his administration is in direct negotiations with the Taliban. As Obama winged his way back home, two explosions erupted in Kabul, killing six and wounding 17. The Taliban immediately took credit for the suicide bombings. So much for negotiations.
This isn’t the first time something similar has happened. In June of last year, while Karzai announced that the United States, Afghanistan and the Taliban were engaged in peace negotiations, insurgents stormed a police station, killing nine.
Obama apparently thinks he can negotiate with the Taliban because they’re not as bad as al-Qaida. This is like saying that rattlesnakes are alright because they’re not as bad as cobras. We recently saw what happens when one crosses the Taliban. In January, the Taliban kidnapped Khalil Dale, a British physician working for the International Red Cross. When the Taliban’s ransom demands weren’t met, the doctor’s beheaded body was dumped alongside a Pakistan road.
When I think of the term “negotiations,” I think of diplomacy between civilized people. Beheading an innocent person when one doesn’t get his way is not civilized — it’s barbaric. Indiscriminately blowing up men, women and children one has never so much as met in order to make a point is also the act of a barbarian.
When I first heard last year that the United States was considering releasing five top Taliban commanders from the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, I was dumbfounded. Yet as of just a few months ago, these negotiations were still in full swing, with Qatar selected as a final transfer point. It wasn’t until Monday that the administration announced that these plans were “on hold” indefinitely.
The president has made much of how presumed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney would have handled the Osama bin Laden killing. Although no one can say with certainty, I’m reasonably confident that he would have handled it in much the same way — but without months of vacillation. Here’s a new question: Would Romney have considered negotiating with the Taliban? He answered this question in the negative in January, when he said, “The right course for America is not to negotiate with the Taliban while the Taliban are killing our soldiers. The right course is to recognize that they are the enemy of the United States.”
Just as surely as Neville Chamberlain didn’t understand the nature of Adolph Hitler before World War II, so too did the frog fail to understand the scorpion’s nature and the president fails to understand that of the Taliban. If you get too close to the Taliban, you’ll feel its sting. Add to the mix the fact that the president is actually considering the release of five more such “scorpions” into our midst. In the words of Fezzik in “The Princess Bride,” it’s “Inconceivable!”
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