June 3, 2014

So Judge Napolitano wants to pretend that a prisoner swap is somehow giving aid to terrorists, does he? That's a problem -- for Napolitano and Fox News.

Perhaps Judge Nappy hasn't studied the history of the Taliban and its rise in Afghanistan. If he had, he would find remarkable similarities between the Taliban and the Tea Party. Here's a quick history review.

Afghanistan 1970-1989

In the early 70s, Afghanistan was actually somewhat progressive. While still a desperately poor Muslim nation, girls were being educated, women were permitted to appear in public without concealing their faces, and steps were being taken toward economic stability and foreign investment.

Then the Soviets invaded during a period of political instability in the country, and stayed for ten years. All progress came to a halt, much of the infrastructure which had been put in place was destroyed, and the most effective rebels were in the northern part of Afghanistan. Meanwhile, on a local level a group of conservative, educated hard-core Muslim activists fought the Soviets in order to preserve Muslim traditions.

After the Soviets left Afghanistan, there was a big gaping void where leadership should have been, and the Taliban stepped in and filled it. They enforced Sharia law, oppressed women, and fought hard to take Afghanistan back to the earlier days of theocratic governance.

A civil war ensued, but the United States did not intervene nor was the Taliban placed on the list of terrorist organizations.

Osama bin Laden was living in Afghanistan, but Al Qaeda was not the Taliban nor was the Taliban Al Qaeda. When the Bush/Cheney administration made the decision to invade Afghanistan, it was to install a friendly government and purge Taliban elements from the government, as well as capture or kill Osama bin Laden. They sort of succeeded at one and utterly failed at the other.

Rise of the American Taliban aka Tea Party

We all know the story, but it's worth drawing some parallels here. After the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 establishing the right to health care for all, the Tea Party rose up out of the ashes of a failed Bush Administration and dead Republican party to take over the House of Representatives. No matter that they were a group of fundamentalists with a goal of taking the country back -- literally -- because they operated then and now with the firm belief that God is on their side and arming them.

Tea Party goals then and now are to oppress women, halt progress, hail inequality, and install theocratic, hamfisted rule in this country.

Are they terrorists or not?

There is no daylight between the Tea Party and the Taliban. Different religions, same authoritarian bent, same trajectory toward theocracy. Either they're both terrorist organizations or they're not.

Since neither of them are on the state-sponsored terrorism list, I'm going to step out and say that Judge Napolitano is full of it and ignorant to boot. There was no "aiding terrorists" in that swap, but if Napolitano and Fox talkers want to keep going down this road they should be careful what they wish for.

If I can make the case that the Tea Party is the American equivalent of the Taliban (right down to their attitudes on executions, by the way), so can others who have a higher profile and larger platform. Maybe Napolitano should just STFU and pretend he didn't say something quite that stupid before it blows up in his face.

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