[R-G] Afghanistan Just Got Messier

Sid Shniad shniad at gmail.com
Wed Nov 4 14:30:18 MST 2009


November 2, 2009

*Afghanistan Just Got Messier*

By Matthew Rothschild

The mess that is Afghanistan just got messier for Washington.

Abdullah’s withdrawal from the presidential runoff leaves Hamid Karzai in
power but without legitimacy.

He’s widely perceived to have rigged the last election, and Abdullah took
himself out, he says, because he couldn’t be assured that Kazai wouldn’t do
it again.

And then they cancelled the election with only Karzai in it, citing security
and cost reasons. But maybe they didn’t want to deal with the embarrassment
of Karzai running unopposed, or the even deeper humiliation of a tiny

As a result, though, Karzai has become further delegitimized.

He was already in the soup. People in Afghanistan recognize that he’s
corrupt. And Malalai Joya, the outspoken feminist who was booted from
parliament, has been denouncing him for years now for surrounding himself
with drug lords and warlords and war criminals. Even his own brother is
involved in the drug trade.

In Afghanistan, Joya says, Karzai is seen, correctly, as a Washington
stooge. And we’re seen there, correctly, as an occupying power.

We’ve been down this road before.

In Vietnam, the United States propped up one illegitimate leader after
another, but that didn’t help the war effort at all. It only further
alienated the people of Vietnam.

We’re seeing the same thing happening in Afghanistan right now.

Karzai is our guy in Kabul, but that’s about it. Many if not most people in
Afghanistan disdain him. And the more he plays ball with Washington, the
less support he has at home.

The United States can’t defeat an insurgency by backing an illegitimate

And the United States can’t defeat an insurgency when the American people
are already opposed to the war.

Obama needs to realize all this, reverse course, and head for the exits,
before he makes matters even worse.

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