“What the hell are we doing in Afghanistan,” you ask?
According to Washington’s war hawks, we’re there to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people. Key to this strategy, we’re told, is to establish the legitimacy of the central government, led by the famously incompetent, vain, arrogant, aloof, and corrupt president, Hamid Karzai. “And how’s that going?”
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Well, at least they pulled off a national parliamentary election in September. It was meant to show democratic progress, thus bolstering the stability and credibility of the government. Unfortunately, there were some unpleasant incidents during the balloting. Beaucoup unpleasantness. More than 3,000 cases of gross electioneering fraud have poured into the Election Complaints Commission – with nearly 60 percent of them considered serious enough to have affected the outcome.
“How gross,” you ask? In Kandahar Province, where the president’s brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, rules as an autocratic strongman, some 50 parliamentary seats were being contested. Amazingly, the list of winners were all from the Karzai political faction, and – get this – Ahmed Wali had the list of winners in his hands before the election!
In a third of the provinces, the fraud was blatant and widespread. A cell phone video, for example, caught officials in one district polling place haggling with a candidate over the price of buying votes. In another district, local police handcuffed and removed three groups of election workers from their polling places, then presented the “results” for them to sign at the end of the day. In a northern province, gunmen slapped, dragged, and otherwise coerced people to go to polling places and vote for the gunmen’s candidate.
This so-called election shows that there’s nothing legitimate about Karzai’s government – and nothing legitimate about America’s involvement in Afghanistan. It’s time to get out of there!
“Extensive Fraud Appears To Mar Afghan Election,” The New York Times, September 25, 2010.
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