Dana Rohrabacher, our Twitter-loving, immigrant-bashing, surfer-dude congressman published an op-ed yesterday in the Washington Times. It's about, of course, his favorite subject: Afghanistan -- specifically, the extent to which he knows more about Afghanistan than anyone else.
To be sure, Rohrabacher is an expert on the topic. He's got a track record in the country, and he's quick to bring it up:
In the 1990s, House International Relations Committee Chairman Ben Gilman, and I along with other veterans of the mujahideen war against the Soviets, nurtured this opposition coalition. The Clinton administration at the time was involved in covertly supporting Taliban rule.
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That's all lovely, but he's leaving out some important stuff -- like how he lobbied for the Taliban in the 1990s and then made botched, possibly illegal overtures to make nice with their officials a few months before the September 11 attacks in 2001. Or about how his efforts while working for Reagan in the 1980s helped arm Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda.
Rohrabacher delivers some choice words for Bush's lackey in Iraq, Paul Bremer, calling him "ego-driven" "wannabe" who presided over an "unmitigated disaster." Excellent. But in dishing out advice on how to succeed in Afghanistan, it sounds like he's planning a sequel to his self-serving "Told-You-So 2001 World Tour," painting himself as the end-all authority on Afghanistan while omitting that he once thought the Taliban were "not terrorists or revolutionaries."
"It won't work," I sadly told a U.S. general who briefed me in Afghanistan over the recess. "This plan will fail." The general could not fathom how his plan, based on centralizing power in Kabul, was totally unworkable.
Rohrabacher's prescription for Afghanistan -- forget about centralized power, build the society from the bottom-up, and use opium-killing fungus (yes, really) -- might be a good one. But he could probably communicate it without sounding like the disappointed daddy of the U.S. armed forces.