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Or We Shall Taunt You A Second Time

While stopping short of making light of an un-light situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the title above was an initial reaction to Mullah Omar's retreat offer, which warned America that it will suffer the same demoralizing fate as the Soviet Union before us.

"I say to the invaders: if you leave our country, we will provide you the safe context to do so," Omar said in the statement marking the Muslim festival of Eid-al-Fitr. "If you insist on your invasion, you will be defeated like the Russians before you."

The situation in Afghanistan has been trending toward difficulty, but never flirting with loss or capitulation. This is, keep in mind, the same warning issued in October of 2001. One distinct difference is that the warning is being issued not from Kabul, but across the border in Pakistan where Mullah Omar stands a chance of avoiding the pre-mature collection of his 72 virgins. And recall that in 2001, his warnings were echoed by the faithless in America who warned breathlessly of 'quagmire' and a 'new Vietnam.' Long? Yes. Difficult? Yes. Quagmire? No.

The good mullah goes on.

"The Americans, with their advanced technology, could not have predicted their defeat but now, with God's help, every day they welcome their soldiers' dead bodies and are facing severe losses of lives and finance," he said. "Several years ago, no one thought that Americans and their friends would face such hard resistance, that today the (Afghan) President and his ministers would beg for money, weapons and soldiers while no one gives a positive answer".

"They came to our country seven years ago and they have not succeeded in their targets - and they will never succeed, even in a hundred years," he added.

Three things. First, again note that this dire warning is issued from the safety of Pakistan, most likely Quetta. Not an unimportant distinction.

Second, the rate of attrition is exponentially lopsided, and not in favor of the Taliban. And their recent recruiting difficulties can be read into the wave of forced conscription taking place inside Pakistan.

Third, if you do not think that our economy is inextricably linked - nay meshed - with our national security, then you recognize even less than the Good Mullah and his compatriots, as emphasized above in bold.

Iran's manipulation of the security perception of oil supply among traders via timely released threats to shut the Strait of Hormuz teamed with some OPEC driving forces on real supply are examples of economic warfare intended to cripple our economy. It is when the intent crosses from business/profit and into the arena of inflicting harm upon another economy that such transitions from the realm of international trade and into the realm of economic warfare. Such is even better than a blockade in that what drains from the US economy deposits in the accounts of those exacting the warfare.

The situation is not one to laugh at. However, there is one thing that hard core leftists and terrorists have in common. You can fight them, you can argue with them, but just don't ever, ever laugh at them. Man, do they hate that.

And it is within that context that I picture Mullah Omar atop the castle wall shouting down at King Arthur in his Quest for the Holy Grail, "Now go away, or I shall taunt you a second time!" I hear he sleeps with one eye open.

Meanwhile, we continue about the serious business of defeating al-Qaeda and the Taliban where they operate, and with the assistance and cooperation of a Pakistani ally that appears sometimes to understand the threat, and at others dismissive in popular criticism of American efforts.