Feingold’s fantasy

On CBS, the senator from Wisconsin said the following:

And the idea that the Taliban is the same as al Qaeda, and they’re going to welcome al Qaeda back with open arms into Afghanistan is questionable. I understand they let them come there earlier. The– the al Qaeda came with lots of money, Saudi money, and it looked like a pretty good deal for them. But, you know, they’ve seen that movie before.

I didn’t know the Taliban watched movies. Anyhow, here’s what some experts have to say about the relationship between Al Qaeda and the Taliban. According to Bruce Riedel, who directed the Obama administration’s first review of Afghan policy,

I think the relationship between these two continues to be one of a strong bond, particularly among the top leaders, Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden.

Bin Laden continues to swear allegiance to Mullah Omar on a periodic basis. If you look at these two, what’s remarkable about their relationship is not friction, but that, for 13 years, they have hung together. Now they think they are on the verge of victory in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They’re not going to break apart now.

And here is Peter Bergen, also a longtime Bin Laden watcher,

Today, at the leadership level, the Taliban and Al Qaeda function more or less as a single entity…One of the key leaders of the Afghan Taliban as it surged in strength in 2006 was Mullah Dadullah, a thuggish but effective commander who was quite upfront about his close links to Al Qaeda. “Osama bin Laden, thank God, is alive and in good health,” he told CBS in December 2006. “We are in contact with his top aides and sharing plans and operations with each other.”

Feingold may not carry a lot of weight in foreign policy circles, but I think his comments say a lot about the opposition of the liberal base to the war in Afghanistan.

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