Wow! Now George W. Bush really is like Ronald Reagan. Both presidents swore they would not negotiate with terrorists. Reagan sent the Iranian hostage-takers Ollie North, a cake and a bunch of bombs. Now Bush has sent his military brass to have a pow-wow with Iraqi insurgents:
U.S. officials held secret talks in Iraq with the commanders of several Iraqi insurgent groups recently in an attempt to open a dialogue with them, a British newspaper reported Sunday.
The commanders “apparently came face to face” with four American officials during meetings on June 3 and June 13 at a summer villa near Balad, about 25 miles north of Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, according to The Sunday Times.
The Sunday Times said neither the Iraqi government nor U.S. officials in Baghdad would confirm its report about the talks.
Military officials in Baghdad did not immediately respond to a request by The Associated Press for comment on the Times article early Sunday morning.
The story, which quoted unidentified Iraqis whose groups were purportedly involved in the talks, said those at the first meeting included Ansar al-Sunnah Army, which has claimed responsibility for suicide bombings in Iraq and an attack that killed 22 people in the dining hall of a U.S. base at Mosul last Christmas.
Two others were Jaish Mohammed, or Mohammed’s Army, and the Islamic Army in Iraq, which in August reportedly killed Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni, the newspaper said.
One of the Americans at the talks introduced himself as a Pentagon representative and declared himself ready to “find ways of stopping the bloodshed on both sides and to listen to demands and grievances,” The Sunday Times said.