If it seems like the Obama administration is full of thick-skulled, faux-intellectual elitists… it’s because the perception is reality. On Wednesday, deputy press secretary Eric Schultz continued the White House’s recent game of word play by refusing to call the Taliban a “terrorist” group. Instead, Schultz, chose to call the evil terrorizing Taliban an “armed insurgency.”
Schultz was having a conversation with ABC News’ Jonathan Karl about White House objections to the Kingdom of Jordan’s decision to negotiate with ISIS. ISIS is holding a Jordanian pilot hostage and they are supposedly willing to return him if Jordan turns over a suicide bomber who was caught before a bombing attack in Jordan could take place. Jordan is apparently close to sealing the deal to exchange prisoners with ISIS, and the White House is against the deal.
It was about this time that Karl pointed out the apparent hypocrisy in light of the Bowe Berdahl deal with the Taliban… when Schultz said something amazing.
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Jonathan Karl: You say the United States government does not give in to demands, does not pay ransom. But how is what the Jordanians are talking about doing any different than what the United States did to get the release of [Bowe] Bergdahl — releasing prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay to the Taliban, which is clearly a terrorist organization?
Eric Schultz: As you know, this was highly discussed at the time and prisoner swaps are traditional end-of-conflict interaction that happens. As the war in Afghanistan wound down we thought it was the appropriate thing to do. The president’s bedrock commitment as commander in chief is to leave no man or woman behind. That’s the principle he was operating under.
Karl: Isn’t that what the Jordanians are operating under? I mean the Taliban is still conducting terrorist attacks. You can’t really say the war has ended as far as they are concerned.
Schultz: Well, I’d also point out that the Taliban is an armed insurgency, ISIL is a terrorist group. So, we don’t make concessions to terrorist groups. We feel —
Karl: You don’t think the Taliban is a terrorist group?
Schultz: I don’t think that the Taliban, um, uh — the Taliban is an armed insurgency. This was the winding down of the war in Afghanistan and that’s why this arrangement was dealt. Our view is, as the president said at the time, is as commander in chief when he sends men and women into armed combat he doesn’t want to leave anyone behind.
I really would have loved to have seen Jonathan Karl press the point and ask Schultz to explain how the Taliban is different from ISIS. The truth is that there is really NO difference between the Taliban and ISIS. Both groups are Islamists working to overthrow the governments currently in power and place themselves as leaders of new nations. Both groups use terrorist tactics to accomplish these purposes and both groups adhere to the same fundamental doctrines of power, religion and warfare.
There is no difference. If the Taliban are an armed insurgency, then so is ISIS. If the villains in ISIS are terrorists, then so is the Taliban.