Secretary Clinton Announces High Level Diplomats for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Middle East

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
January 23, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you very much, and welcome to the State Department. Please be seated.

We are delighted to be joined this afternoon by President Obama and Vice President Biden for this very important announcement. But it is also absolutely a delight to have the President and the Vice President here with us today. It is an indication of the President's commitment to a foreign policy that protects our national security and advances our interests and is in keeping with our values. So we, Mr. President, take great heart from the confidence that you have placed in us.

Today, we start the hard work to restore our standing and enable our country to meet the vexing new challenges of the 21st century, but also to seize the opportunities that await us. The President is committed to making diplomacy and development the partners in our foreign policy along with defense, and we must be smarter about how we exercise our power. But as I said this morning upon entering the building, the heart of smart power--are smart people. And Mr. President, we have them in abundance here in the State Department, USAID, and our related agencies.

Today, you will see an example of the kind of robust diplomacy that the President intends to pursue and that I am honored to help him fulfill. Nowhere is there a need for a vigorous diplomatic approach more apparent than in the two regions that epitomize the nuance and complexity of our interconnected world. Many of you in this building, many of your Foreign Service and Civil Service and Foreign National colleagues have been engaged on behalf of issues related to the Middle East and to Afghanistan and Pakistan for years, sometimes, as we know, at great peril and personal sacrifice. That work has been invaluable, and it will continue to be the underpinning of everything our government does to achieve peace and stability in these regions.

At the same time, we know that anything short of relentless diplomatic efforts will fail to produce a lasting, sustainable peace in either place. That is why the President and I have decided to name a Special Envoy for Middle East Peace and a Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Given the magnitude of the issues confronting us, we will bolster the excellent work that is done daily here, as well as in our embassies and outposts around the world, and particularly in these two regions, by an intensive push undertaken through the efforts of these two seasoned diplomats.

Mr. President, by coming here to the State Department, and through your announcement today of these two positions, you are, through word and deed, sending a loud and clear signal that diplomacy is a top priority of your presidency, and that our nation is once again capable of demonstrating global leadership in pursuit of progress and peace.

We are honored to have you join us on only the second day in office. We are grateful to you for highlighting these urgent issues and the collaboration needed to address two of the biggest foreign policy challenges of our time. I know that everyone here at State and in our various embassies and consulates and other outposts throughout the world look forward to working closely with these two exceptional public servants, as we strive to protect and advance America's interests and find a path to peace and greater harmony in these vital areas of the world.

I am pleased now to introduce someone who is no stranger to this Department, who has been a friend and partner, as a Senator, as the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and now as our Vice President. There are few people who have been so devoted to promoting diplomacy and development as our guest, Vice President Joe Biden. (Applause.)

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Thank you very much. Madame Secretary, let me begin by saying congratulations. It was a bright day for the whole Department and the Foreign Service when you walked through that door. And so, congratulations to you.

Mr. President, your choice of our colleague, Senator Clinton, is absolutely the right person, in my view, at the right moment in American history.

We've come here today to the State Department to send a very clear message, a clear message at home as well as abroad, that we are going to reinvigorate America's commitment to diplomacy. This effort will be led by Secretary Clinton. I believe, and as I know you do, Mr. President, because you chose her, that she has the knowledge, the skill, the experience, as well as that sort of intangible commodity of having personal relationships with many of these world leaders, which makes her uniquely - in my view, uniquely qualified to put diplomacy back in the forefront of America's foreign policy.

For too long, we've put the bulk of the burden, in my view, on our military. That's a view not only shared by me, but by your Secretary of Defense as well. And our military is absolutely - to state the obvious, absolutely necessary, but not sufficient. Not sufficient to secure the interests of this great nation.

In a moment, Mr. President, you're going to announce two new powerful weapons in our - or I mean, I guess the Secretary is going to announce two very powerful weapons in our diplomatic arsenal. They have faced and helped resolve equally challenging issues to the ones they face today in their - throughout their careers, from the Balkans to Northern Ireland. Both - both are outstanding public servants and both are very, with all full disclosure, Mr. President, very old and close and friends.

Mr. President, if you'll permit me, I'd like to thank them. I'd like to thank them for their willingness to come back into government to take on two of the most vexing international dilemmas that we face and require their incredible capacity. And so I compliment the Secretary on her recommendations and your choices, and I look forward to--with following you, Mr. President, to reinvigorate diplomacy in the world. It is the key, ultimately, to our security. I thank you. (Applause)

SECRETARY CLINTON: The President and I feel very grateful for the willingness of both of these extraordinary Americans to serve. And it is also fitting to thank their families. Both Mrs. Mitchell--Heather--and Kati, Richard Holbrooke's wife are here, along with other family members. These are very difficult assignments. They are disruptive of settled and successful lives. And we thank them for taking on these responsibilities.

It's my great honor to introduce the man who the President and I have asked to be the Special Envoy for Middle East Peace. He will lead our efforts to reinvigorate the process for achieving peace between Israel and its neighbors. He will help us to develop an integrated strategy that defends the security of Israel, works to bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that will result in two states living side by side in peace and security, and to achieve further agreements to promote peace and security between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

Senator Mitchell will also work to support the objectives that the President and I believe are critical and pressing in Gaza, to develop a program for humanitarian aid and eventual reconstruction, working with the Palestinian Authority and Israel on behalf of those objectives. It is a great personal pleasure to introduce George Mitchell, a man who is well known inside this Department and across Washington and America, who has been willing to accept this important assignment. (Applause.)

SENATOR MITCHELL: Mr. President, Madame Secretary, I am grateful to you for your kind words and for the confidence that you show in me and in Ambassador Holbrooke. It's a great honor for me to be able to serve our country again, and especially to do so with my friend and distinguished colleague, Richard Holbrooke.

I don't underestimate the difficulty of this assignment. The situation in the Middle East is volatile, complex, and dangerous. But the President and the Secretary of State have made it clear that danger and difficulty cannot cause the United States to turn away. To the contrary, they recognize and have said that peace and stability in the Middle East are in our national interest. They are, of course, also in the interest of Israelis and Palestinians, of others in the region, and people throughout the world.

The Secretary mentioned Northern Ireland. There, recently, long-time enemies came together to form a power-sharing government, to bring to an end the ancient conflict known as the "Troubles." This was almost 800 years after Britain began its domination of Ireland, 86 years after the partition of Ireland, 38 years after the British army formally began its most recent mission in Ireland, 11 years after the peace talks began, and nine years after a peace agreement was signed. In the negotiations which led to that agreement, we had 700 days of failure and one day of success. For most of the time, progress was nonexistent or very slow. So I understand the feelings of those who may be discouraged about the Middle East.

As an aside, just recently, I spoke in Jerusalem and I mentioned the 800 years. And afterward, an elderly gentleman came up to me and he said, "Did you say 800 years?" And I said, "Yes, 800." He repeated the number again - I repeated it again. He said, "Uh, such a recent argument. No wonder you settled it." (Laughter.)

But--800 years may be recent--but from my experience there, I formed the conviction that there is no such thing as a conflict that can't be ended. Conflicts are created, conducted, and sustained by human beings. They can be ended by human beings. I saw it happen in Northern Ireland, although, admittedly, it took a very long time. I believe deeply that with committed, persevering, and patient diplomacy, it can happen in the Middle East.

There are, of course, many, many reasons to be skeptical about the prospect for success. The conflict has gone on for so long, and has had such destructive effects, that many have come to regard it as unchangeable and inevitable. But the President and the Secretary of State don't believe that. They believe, as I do, that the pursuit of peace is so important that it demands our maximum effort, no matter the difficulties, no matter the setbacks. The key is the mutual commitment of the parties and the active participation of the United States Government, led by the President and the Secretary of State, with the support and assistance of the many other governments and institutions who want to help.

The Secretary of State has just talked about our long-term objective, and the President himself has said that his Administration - and I quote - "Will make a sustained push, working with Israelis and Palestinians to achieve the goal of two states: a Jewish state in Israel and a Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security."

This effort must be determined, persevering, and patient. It must be backed up by political capital, economic resources, and focused attention at the highest levels of our government. And it must be firmly rooted in a shared vision of a peaceful future by the people who live in the region. At the direction of the President and the Secretary of State, and in pursuit of the President's policies, I pledge my full effort in the search for peace and stability in the Middle East. Thank you. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Senator Mitchell.

I next have the great personal pleasure of introducing the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Ambassador Holbrooke will coordinate across the entire government an effort to achieve United States' strategic goals in the region. This effort will be closely coordinated, not only within the State Department and, of course, with USAID, but also with the Defense Department and under the coordination of the National Security Council.

It has become clear that dealing with the situation in Afghanistan requires an integrated strategy that works with both Afghanistan and Pakistan as a whole, as well as engaging NATO and other key friends, allies, and those around the world who are interested in supporting these efforts. It is such a great decision on the part of the Ambassador to respond to the call that the President and I sent out, asking that he, again, enter public service and take on this very challenging assignment. And we are grateful that he has. Ambassador Holbrooke. (Applause.)

AMBASSADOR HOLBROOKE: Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, Madame Secretary, Senator Special Envoy Mitchell, I thank you so much. It's an extraordinarily moving thing for me to return to this building again, having entered it so many years ago as a junior Foreign Service Officer.

As somebody whose career was determined in that initial decade of my life in the Foreign Service, I want to tell you, Mr. President, that I know that the Foreign Service and the Civil Service and the Foreign Service Officers serving around the world will appreciate and remember the fact that you chose to come to the Department on your second day to demonstrate what you have with this fantastic team. And if I may, on behalf of all Foreign Service Officers, active and retired, I want to thank you so much. (Applause.)

I'm also honored by the presence of two good and close friends, Vice President Biden and, of course, my boss--immediate boss, Secretary Clinton, and to share the podium with a colleague from the Irish days and many Senate events, Senator George Mitchell. I thank you for your confidence in offering me this daunting assignment, and all I can do is pledge my best to undertake it. I see -- thinking of my early years in the Foreign Service, I see my former roommate in Saigon, John Negroponte, here. We remember those days well, and I hope we will produce a better outcome this time. (Laughter.)

I also have to thank Kati; my two sons, David and Anthony; my stepdaughter--my beloved stepdaughter, Lizzie and her fiancx David, especially for coming down here today. And I hope that I'll be able to see you sometime in the next few years. (Laughter.)

Mr. President, Madame Secretary, Mr. Vice President, you've asked me to deal with Afghanistan and Pakistan, two very distinct countries with extraordinarily different histories, and yet intertwined by geography, ethnicity, and the current drama. This is a very difficult assignment, as we all know. Nobody can say the war in Afghanistan has gone well. And yet, as we speak here today, American men and women and their coalition partners are fighting a very difficult struggle against a ruthless and determined enemy without any scruples at all, an enemy that is willing to behead women who dare to teach in a school to young girls, an enemy that has done some of the most odious things on earth.

And across the border, lurks a greater enemy still: the people who committed the atrocities of September 11th, 2001.

We know what our long-term objective is. I hope I will be able to fill out the mandate which Secretary Clinton has mentioned: to help coordinate a clearly chaotic foreign assistance program, which must be pulled together; to work closely with General Petraeus, CENTCOM, Admiral Mullen, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General McKiernan and the command in Afghanistan, to create a more coherent program.

If our resources are mobilized and coordinated and pulled together, we can quadruple, quintuple, multiply by tenfold the effectiveness of our efforts there.

In Pakistan the situation is infinitely complex, and I don't think I would advance our goals if I tried to discuss it today. I wish to get out to the region and report back to the Secretary, the Vice President, and the President. But I will say that in putting Afghanistan and Pakistan together under one envoy, we should underscore that we fully respect the fact that Pakistan has its own history, its own traditions, and it is far more than the turbulent, dangerous tribal areas on its western border. And we will respect that as we seek to follow suggestions that have been made by all three of the men and women standing behind me in the last few years on having a more comprehensive policy.

So I thank you again for your confidence in me. I look forward to working for you, with you closely, and following a joint effort to do better than we have in the past. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we are not only honored and delighted, but challenged by the President coming here on the second day. (Laughter.) This puts the pressure on everybody. And yet, Mr. President, we feel up to that challenge. We want to do our very best work in furtherance of your goals. You set a high standard in your Inaugural Address as to what we are aiming toward. And I pledge to you on behalf of the thousands and thousands of dedicated public servants who serve you, on behalf of diplomacy and development, that we will give you our very best efforts. It is an honor to be working to fulfill the goals that you have set for our country.

Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States. (Applause.)



New Hampshire, USA
January 22, 2009

Phyllis in New Hampshire writes:

Feels great to be treated with respect, as an American citizen. Thanks for the informative posts and communications.

Syrian P.
January 22, 2009

SNP in Syria writes:

QUOTE- He will help us to develop an integrated strategy that defends the security of Israel, works to bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that will result in two states living side by side in peace and security, and to achieve further agreements to promote peace and security between Israel and its Arab neighbors. END QUOTE.

...And all the neighbor princess surrendered to the king of kings, David of Israel, and all lived in submission to him happily ever after. But suddenly the big monster that gobbled up the gold and silver of the Middle East is awoken to the fact that his stomach is empty and need more wars to get cash. As the soothsayer of the two Bibles prophesized in the golden fairy tale tablets WOW...when they all crying peace, suddenly war broke out and that is the end of the last chapter of King David and his kingdom of Golden Arches and blood bathes.

You can not have peace and supremacy for Israel at the same time. You can not have peace with Iran, Hizbullah and others, that this peace issue is of their concerns, not sitting on the negotiation table. It seems that the U.S. (Rockfies) is just quickly trying to please the Arabs and Chinese to keep the cash flowing. Otherwise, how on earth would an abhorred and hated all over the Islamic world Jordanian, Gulf Sheikhs and Saudi rulers along with Mubarak have any say whatsoever in this Peace process, they are all -non-party- to the settlement. In fact their participation is sure way to failure.

United Kingdom
January 23, 2009

REG in the United Kingdom writes:

My Dear Secretary Clinton,

I agree with you that it was important for President Obama to visit the State Department for these announcements. By this gesture, President Obama demonstrated his commitment to a new, strong and effective role for diplomacy by the United States. This is a good thing.

I am an American citizen residing permanently in Europe. I am registered to vote by absentee ballot in Polk County, Florida. As a fellow American, I am relieved to see the State Department getting the support that it should have from the President.

My Dear Ambassador Mitchell,

I wish you well. You face daunting challenges, of course. I feel the approach taken by the previous administration to Palestine and its people was intellectually bankrupt and morally depraved. I know you can do better than that.

I hope that this diplomatic initiative on the Middle East will embrace the values and principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Of particular relevance is Article 2:

"Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty."

As well as Article 7:

"All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination."

January 23, 2009

Solomon in Madagascar writes:

Mr president of the United States of the America and the secretary of

Mr president we need confurme us preparation of high war and every time we need confurme us check the all command us mussil and material of comunication and all satelite armour in all point strategy of defence usa,as far as I ready build us Negotiation of strategy war and the usa army already take us the US009 new strategy of war for unssure us winner in all action of war and victor in the world.

Mr president we need confurme us ready of war use for war on terrorism and confurme us protection us all people america in the world and the all acompany of usa ,and for deliver us true peaces in the world for protect the democracy and right of man in the five contunent and building us project peaces world use for only road for reiforcement the usa on economic and defence and for waranty security the world on peaces and democracy and for along timent ago on developement,and for liberate africa contunent and to become africa unit states of america and only coperation on defence and economic.

When us meeting are finish we need open us all program and project use for up again the usa on economic and defence and realize the us politic and diplomacy for stability of all gestion for benefit usa in the world.

Mr president I hope you are the hope and waranty for future generation people in the world on peaces and democracy.

Thank very much Mr president and I wait your aide and help and suport on buidget and materiall of comunication for realize my traveling and contuie us work for benefit usa. the terrorism not stop sabotage us corespondece for defence and economic the usa and slander us name and honor of usa ,but:

We are never lost a war we are on time peaces and on time war we are the ledear and number one in the wolrd on defence and economic.

The God us protege

Your coperation


Florida, USA
January 23, 2009

Susan in Florida writes:

I am very hopeful for America now. I want to congratulate, and thank, President Obama and Secretary Clinton as they endeavor to "make things right" both here and abroad. The challenges are great and it will be difficult, but I am confident that they are the right people for this time in our history. It is with confidence that I say that America and the world is rooting for you!!

Michigan, USA
January 23, 2009

Mark in Michigan writes:

I think the most important job you will have to do; is try to find a way too make peace in the Arab-Israeli Conflict. This should be #1 Priority in the Obama Administration.

Nevada, USA
January 23, 2009

Tom in Nevada writes:

I think that the situation is a grave and bold task to address. There is alot of work to be done and there will all so be give and take. I believe that Secretary Clinton was a great choice for her postion with her back ground and worldly experence. I think that there will be many road blocks when it comes to dealing with the Mid-East from a womaan's out look. Please do not misunderstand, it is just the way women are looked upon in that part of the world. I all so believe that if anyone would be able to handle this situation it would be her. I for one am very happy to see our Goverment move forward and take real measures to strike fast with peace instead on force. Where force is needed I do believe it is our responsiblity to react. I all so believe that if there is a chance to talk, we should do whatever is witin our prowers to exsplore that and with understanding and diplomacy take all steps to over come differences. I do not know the back ground of the two gentleman whom have been engauged to this task. I wish them God Speed and saftey within there travels and endovers.

Mr. Preident, I have faith in you and your goals to set aisde all of the old ways of doing business and commend you or you actions to move forward in the best interset of out Great Nation.

With this being said, I will keep you all in my prayers and entrust you to peace for all mankind.

Florida, USA
January 25, 2009

Paul in Florida writes:

What better way to get started than to focus on Pakistan and Afghanistan. It seems that these two countries have been neglected for the past few years, and I believe there will be great progress in the near future. This is the time for the United States of America to show the world that we are leaders and that we have compassion and concern for their nations and their people. I believe that Secretary Clinton and the Obama Administration will be very successful in showing the world that we are uniter's, not dividers. I am excited about what is yet to come and I know that with the Leadership of Secretary of State Clinton, this country will shine bright and be the leader in the world again!

Florida, USA
January 26, 2009

Susan in Florida writes:

@ Senator Mitchell -- I am grateful that you have been named the Special Envoy to the Middle East. Since you dealt with the problems in Northern Ireland, successfully, you will certainly understand the stubbornness of each side to concede to the other's viewpoint. My grandfather's family was from Northern Ireland and after years of conflict, they finally decided to come to America. Many years later I was able to visit the Republic of Ireland but was not allowed to enter Northern Ireland due to the fighting that was going on there. It was truly remarkable when you were able to work out a peaceful solution. There is one thing that I realized, from following the situation in Northern Ireland, and that is that each side must be ready to have peace. Northern Ireland had had enough, and was being pressured by "everyday people" to resolve the hatred that had been passed down from generation to generation. Let us hope that the Middle East and the "everyday citizens" of these areas of conflict are ready to put aside their generational hatred and desire peace.

District Of Columbia, USA
January 26, 2009

Molly in Washington, DC writes:

I commend the administration for adressing the conflict in Gaza so quickly.

I think it is important to first state that I am not Jewish. I am looking at this situation in Gaza with an outsider's perspective, as I have never been to Israel or Gaza (or anywhere in the Middle East, for that matter). With that said, I am confused as to why the US public seems to be leaning towards sympathizing with a terrorist organization. In talking with friends, collegues, and some family members, and in watching the news, I have noticed a shift in perceptions. There is a move away from sympathizing with the civilians trapped in this conflict to even vilifying the actions of the Israeli Defense Force and creating a justification for the actions of Hamas. Hamas' actions are not justifiable.

Between 2001 and 2008, terrorists in Gaza launched 8,165 rockets and mortar attacks on civilians in southern Israel. These rockets and mortar attacks targeted kindergartens, hospitals, schools, day care centers, homes and playgrounds. As many as 94% of the children living in Sderot suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Despite all of this, Israel continued to transfer thousands of tons of humanitarian aid, fuel and general supplies into Gaza through designated crossings. Even during the alleged six month truce between Israel and Hamas, Hamas fired 362 missiles into southern Israel. In the seven days after the truce ended, Hamas fired over 280 rockets and mortars into Israel. These attacks targeted civilians.

Hamas declared war on Israel. Hamas used human shields and embeded its infrastructure in schools, hospitals, and densely populated communities. This violates international law. This is an accepted terrorist group! Yes, the citizens of Gaza have been struck hard by the Israeli offensive. I want peace and security for the Palestinian people, but I do not think we should be so quick to point our fingers at Israel. They continue to uphold international law while dealing with this volatile terrorist organization.

"Rockets against Sderot will cause mass migration, greatly disrupt daily lives and government administration and can make a much huger impact on the government... We are succeeding with the rockets. We have no losses and the impact on the Israeli side is so much."
-- Mahmoud A-Zahar, Hamas minister. Aug, 2007.

New Hampshire, USA
January 27, 2009

Ken in New Hampshire writes:

It appears assertive diplomacy is engaging the origin of today's conflicts, conflicts which seem to have taken over the usual and customary advancement of worldwide diplomacy. A wonderful choice for special envoy, if it can be done George Mitchell will do it. Look to our friends in Norway for assistance but be sure to honor their work. As a former peacekeeper in the region back in '84, I fully understand how this conflict can be viewed as a complicated issue given the historical and emotional implications. The Sinai peninsula has been transformed as a result of the Camp David peace accords, which brought peace between the two strongest nations in the region. I recall the gamble in going into Dahab unarmed when it was off limits since it was a port of terrorism, and today we could take a vacation there at a resort. The Gaza resides on the Mediterranean, capitalizing an economic venture under Palestinian Authority could be one component in establishing and sustaining peace, zone it necessary. Ensuring a self sufficient people in this region would go far. Development of a sustainable vision inclusive of the entire region is necessary if genuine peace is to be had. The potential of this area and its people is mindboggling.

Florida, USA
January 27, 2009

Steven in Florida writes:

Thje key to understanding the Middle East is understanding the Arab culture with respect to honor and shame. To them, this isn't as much a question of refugees, or Jerusalem or settlements as their capital as it is the shame of losing to the Jews, a people they have historically viewed as their inferiors. Unfortunately logic and compromise are not a part of the equation here.

Peace will come slowly and in very small increments. The victories will be small and very local in nature. I don't think it will begin with major agreements on a governmental level, but with agreements between small groups of individuals.

To be sure, there are extremists on both sides, but the question is how much influence these extremists wield. Extremists in Israel are a small but vocal minority, and the structure of Israel's legislative and executive branches give them more leverage than they should have. It should be noted, that even the mainstream Israeli right is trying to distance themselves from these people, as can be seen by Netanyahu's comment that there would be no new settlements in the West Bank under a Likud government.

The other side of the table consists of a weak Fatah which is really not in a position to uphold any commitments made under an agreement with the Israelis let alone make any of the compromises necessary for even a provisional agreement. Moreover, their basic philosophy vis a vis Israel has not materially changed over the last 40 years. They are still opposed the idea of Israel as a Jewish state, regardless of their stated intent to recognize Israel. Despite the fact that they are participating in a process that by its very nature dictates the necessity of unpopular compromise, Fatah leaders continue to promise their people that they will not accept anything less than the return of the refugees and their descendants to their pre-1948 homes and the absolute necessity that Jerusalem (including all its holy places) be the capital the future Palestinian state. Anything less in a peace agreement with Israel would cost them their position, if not their lives.

What then, is the solution? It's obvious that I don't have the answer to that, but I do know that pursuing an agreement based on western logic and a western sense of compromise isn't a part of it. Does that mean the pursuit of peace in the Middle East and with it, an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict should be abandoned Absolutely not. What is needed is an approach that understands the historic and cultural contexts as seen through the prisms of both sides. Both sides need to regard the other as equals and both sides need to abandon the rhetoric of promises that cannot possibly be kept.

Virginia, USA
February 7, 2009

Donald in Virginia writes:

7 Feb 09


1. You cannot bring Afghanistan or Pakistan terrorists into A United States courtroom. Who have done acts of crime or terrorism on foreign soil. If the act or crime was committed in another country, you have to abide by the the host country in allowing them the same and equal rights to prosecute those terrorists. They should be making the decisons on courtrooms, punsishments, and containments of the inmates. If we start prosecuting people for committing crimes in other countries, then what is stopping them from making charges against you and applying that to your charge and be sentenced in their country? It would be like spitting on the sidewalk in the United States and be arrested and contained in Afghanistan. Only in Afghanistan they would decide your faith.

2. Then what to do with the terrorists. It's simple:

You build a Super Maximum Prison in Afghanistan. Then you can also ensure a courtroom and a Justice System be in place to allow each of the terrorist their day in court, only it's in a courtroom in Afghanistan or Pakistan, NOT in the United States. This would also make it easier for people to understand and how to deal with the highest level of terrorists. Hence, it would be far better to deal with these Jihad people in Afghan prison than say in your backyard.

You place the United States Military in charge of building the biggest Prison in Afghanistan. Then you use or build a courtroom to allow for the proceedings. It should be setup just like when Iraq was first got started. Introduce the laws and Justice system to Afghanistan.

Once the new prison has been built. You send all the terrorists from Gitmo, Cuba to Afghanistan to face the charges of terrorism. Then and there they would be charged, have lawyers, and have a day in court. The Leaders of Afghanistan would ensure a fair trial on each of the terrorists. The United States can bring in witnesses for each case to help in the processing.

I believe this would help solve the problems regarding the terrorists situation at Gitmo, on what to do with them. It would also allow for a containment area for future terrorist which are caught in Afghanistan.

New Jersey, USA
February 10, 2009

Dan in New Jersey writes:

I suggest "balkanization" of the region with Kabul being the capital of N. Afghanistan, and Kandahar as the capital of S. Afghanistan. Pakistan should split away from Waziristan and the Frontier Provinces, and Kashmir should become an independent state like Pakistan and Bangladesh did.


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