Sanctuary in advance

More weird journalism from the New York Times. This is the lead paragraph of a recent story by Helene Cooper:

HERE is a proposition that is bound to cut deep into the national psyche: Should the United States seek to negotiate with some of the same people who gave sanctuary to Osama bin Laden prior to the Sept. 11 attacks?

It's always good to invoke the national psyche, since we all know what that means, and cutting deeply into it is always worrisome. The story recycles an administration talking point, from Gen. Petraeus's mouth to Pres. Obama's to a Times exclusive interview, which is that to win the war in Afghanistan the US needs to make deals with local Taliban factions. The article doesn't say "win," though, it says "try to put a tourniquet on the hemorrhaging war effort there."

But back to the national psyche. The Times lede says that the Taliban, who were running large parts of Afghanistan in 2001, gave bin Laden "sanctuary" "prior" to the 9/11 attacks. This follows the Bush script, which was that Mullah Omar, et al were hiding and protecting bin Laden from the US and therefore needed to be "taken out." But bin Laden didn't have sanctuary prior to 9/11 because (i) 9/11 hadn't happened yet and (ii) he had been living in the country for years, after fighting for the Afghans against the Soviets.

The US' rationale for invading and destabilizing that country never made much sense. At the time the propaganda was a strange mix of "if they hide terrorists they must be annihilated" coupled with "and besides, we will really be helping the women of Afghanistan." It seemed pretty obvious that Bush and Cheney were trying to deflect attention away from their own failure to protect US citizens from the 9/11 attacks and took advantage of the nation's riled up mood.

Now the Obama administration appears to be compounding the problem by committing more troops with no clear mission goals. At least, that's what this part of the national psyche thinks.