Why the outcome of the Afghan election doesn't matter
The Afghan presidential election will prove to be simply irrelevant. The
In doing so they repeated the same blind arrogance of their imperial predecessors, the British and the Soviets. Getting in was easy; getting out on their own terms -- with a credible pro-Western government in place -- is proving almost impossible.
Ironically -- imperialists have no sense of irony -- the
In their zeal to rid the region of Soviet influence, the
If you're having trouble with that image, take into account the fact that the humiliating retreat from Vietnam began with a dramatic decrease in public support for the war -- exactly what is happening in the U.S. Two recent polls reveal that a majority of Americans now think the war is not worth fighting. Almost twice as many want a troop decrease as support Obama's commitment to an increase. By a two to one margin, Americans do not believe the election will result in "effective government."
Almost as many think the
Good dictators are hard to find
The lack of a viable exit strategy for the
Hamid Karzai was supposed to play that role and according to Jack Warnock, author of Creating a Failed State: The US and Canada in Afghanistan, he was imposed on the
The threats from the
Instead of a constitutional monarchy, with government by a parliament,
To virtually ensure that there was no check on the powers of the president, the constitution bans participation in general elections by political parties; only individuals can run for seats and their affiliations are not allowed on the ballots. In addition, candidates associated with secular parties are effectively banned from running as the new constitution (never seen by the Afghan public before it was passed by the Interim Administration) makes it illegal for any policy to contradict the "holy religion of Islam."
Ensuring a dysfunctional state
By manipulating the constitutional process and the rules of democratic elections, the
But the price the U.S. paid was the virtual certainty that any government that did hold power under U.S. rules would be beholden to the war lords and drug lords who fill the vacuum left by non-existent civil society. It would also, of course, be a government characterized by rampant corruption and total incompetence, incapable of providing services to the people and equally incapable of inspiring troops and police to fight the Taliban.
In order to maintain a level of public support sufficient to justify his highly personal redefinition of this "good war" Obama has to be able to point to real advances on the democracy and social progress fronts. Only a genuinely nationalist, secular government can deliver this. But Obama's predecessors have made this literally impossible.
The democracy exit has been nailed shut and buried in concrete. And just this past weekend the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Michael Mullen, did a round of TV interviews revealing that the situation "is serious and it is deteriorating." He was trying to soften up the American public for a request for a much larger troop increase than already committed to -- just as Americans are saying, two-to-one, that they think the government should be reducing those numbers.
General Mullen didn't talk about troop levels he thinks would 'do the job.' But he might want to go back a year when his colleague, General Dan McNeill, the former commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, stated it would take 400,000 troops to pacify the whole country. The
Watch for the helicopter.