Freedom fighter has a nice ring to it, no?
This video from MSNBC features a statement by House Speaker John Boehner followed by the reaction of Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), who is a member of the Armed Services Committee. Speier’s interlocutor is MSNBC host Kristin Welker. The transcript follows:
SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: The biggest issue here is the violation of a policy that the United States has had for many, many years. that we don’t negotiate with terrorists, and we are going to pay for this, and there is not any doubt in my mind that there are going to be costs and lives, and lost lives associated with what came out of this.
WELKER: Congresswoman, we are getting the A.P. alert that the Dick Durbin is saying that the Bergdahl deal was reached a day before the prisoner swap and that the U.S. learned the location an hour before the pickup, and so before I get to the reaction of John Boehner, can you confirm that is part of the briefing last night?
REP. SPEIER: I can’t confirm that, but let me underscore the term terrorist. The Taliban is a part of the fabric of Afghanistan and they were part of the leadership of that country before we engaged there, and we are now actively attempting to get the Taliban to negotiate with President Karzai and the Afghanistan government, because there is some cooperation, and some level of coordination between the two if that country is going to survive and move forward. So, to say that they are terrorists at this point is not necessarily accurate.
The question here is not so much one of accuracy. Technically, Speier’s explanation meets that criterion. Rather, it is what benefit is served by making this distinction. The Gitmo 5 have been linked with the slaughter of thousands of men, women and children. One of them, Norullah Noori, is accused of taking part in the 1998 massacre of up to 8,000 Shiites. If a person looks like a terrorist and acts like a terrorist, why attempt nuance in deciding whether to call him a terrorist?