These are people who whipped women in stadiums given to them by the international community to play soccer, who refused to let women learn to read. The Taliban made Afghanistan a failed state and a terrorist haven for Al-Qa'ida so that they could launch the Sept. 11 attack. What's to negotiate?
Negotiation is not a reward for being good. Negotiation is communication with an opponent in a non-zero-sum game for the purposes of getting a better result than you could get without negotiation. We negotiated with Stalin. In fact, Karazai has previously attempted negotiation with parts of the Taliban.
The US did not rule negotiation out in principle in Vietnam. Even the Soviets didn't in Afghanistan between 1979 and 1988. Even in the best case scenario, we are going to want to get some of the elements fighting us in Afghanistan invested in a negotiated, political solution.
The worst part of this is the condescending way Professor Rice talks to us. Our soldiers are dying in a war of immese strategic interest to her country and she talks to us like slow children.
Something (other than "staying the course") needs to be done in Afghanistan. At this point, recognizing that the war in Afghanistan, unlike the one in Iraq, had a genuine strategic rationale, I would prefer more troops combined with a political strategy. But, sooner or later, the Canadian public is going to turn to withdrawal. Rice probably bumped those numbers up a few points.