This is unbelievable:
The Taliban have embarked on a sophisticated information war, using modern media tools as well as some old-fashioned ones, to soften their image and win favor with local Afghans as they try to counter the Americans’ new campaign to win Afghan hearts and minds.
The Taliban’s spiritual leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, issued a lengthy directive late last spring outlining a new code of conduct for the Taliban. The dictates include bans on suicide bombings against civilians, burning down schools, or cutting off ears, lips and tongues.
Lips? That is one feel-good memo! Why didn’t Karen Hughes ever think of something like this? I mean, everyone knows the U.S. is good at building schools in Afghanistan. But have we ever explicitly vowed not to burn them down?
If you parse it closely, you’ll notice that Mullah Omar left open the possibility of cutting out hearts and minds themselves. He’s nothing if not an ironist.