Democratic Afghanistan: Oxymoron?
As the dust cleared outside a downtown bank in Kabul, Afghanistan's capital, three insurgents were dragged out in body bags, along with their arsenal of 30 AK-47 rifles and a stockade of grenades. In the streets, police resorted to silencing the media with the butt end of their rifles. This was among many scenes of Taliban-claimed acts of terrorism that took place on the day before Afghanistan's second national election.
NATO Officials reported in the 10 days leading up to the election, Afghanistan felt the wrath of over 32 acts of terrorism per day. In the final four days leading up to the election, that number jumped to over 48. Insurgents used every tool at their disposal including car bombs, building raids, and suicide bombers. The Taliban objected to an election, they call "This American Process," and handled their objection like schoolyard bullies.
Terrorism begets more terrorism and the media muting rifle ends from the long arm of the law become the effect from the cause. Pure, wild west, chaos captures the very definition of SNAFU (Situation Normal All Messed Up). President Hamid Karzai certainly had a full plate with the Taliban. But in an election where 43 other people sought his position, he found himself at an all you can eat buffet.
There were many players in the election and a good portion of them are connected to warlords. The Electoral Complaints Commission, a board that was hand picked by Karzia, eliminated 54 names from the ballot for outright connections to illegal armed groups, while human rights watchdogs report that 70 additional names also with connections to warlords remain on the ballot. Karzia is not exempt. To make matters worse, his closest rival Abdullah Abdullah appears to be squeaky clean.
It has not been Karzia's year. Vice President Joe Biden left a heated debate and egg all over Karzia's face. To add insult to injury, US officials posed for press shots with Abdullah and left Karzia to fend for himself, a far different story from only four years ago, when Karzia was the belle of the Bush ball.. The Current U.S. objections to Karzia stem from his unwillingness to clean up corruption in his government and the light attitude towards the drug trade.
Karzia stands on an unstable teeter-totter. To tow the American line means to legitamize the Taliban. While he could do more to clean up corruption in his government, Binden might want to look at the glass house he lives in before he storms out of political charged luncheons. If Karzia is to crack down on the drug trade, his country loses the cash flow that Opium, the country's largest export, brings into the Afghanistan economy. The financially depressed result will funnel power back to the Taliban, who all but eradicated Opium production during their rule.
Yet for all the wrong, the Taliban appear to be right about one thing. This American process is full of American involvement. The two main candidates represent two fractions of the American Government; Abdullah, a clean poster boy for Obamanation, and Karzia, who appears to have never cut his C.I.A. strings. With operations Amadeus, Pegasus, and most notably, Watchtower in mind, the letter men have proved time and time again their involvement in the global drug trade.
Who is going to win? The C.I.A. has a long history of rigging Arab elections, starting in Iran in the 50's. Stateside, Democrats have had a bad history of turning over erred voter tallies. Karzia wins, and in a war-torn desert, a nationalist warlord may just be better than an eye doctor.
No matter which way you slice it; the Afghanistan election was never going to be clean. With the eyes of the world watching, the Taliban has a vested interest in turning the election into an outright horror show. Yet, what is most laughable is the American media storm that asks "Should we accept the Afghanistan election?" or of the U.N. who has assigned a special committee to check the validity of the Afghanistan election, with over 2000 complaints and counting.
America or the U.N. have no right to make any such claim towards any decision made by the Afghanistan people. Of course, there are limits and, even with a Democrat in office, we will still go to war if need be. But when the world powers play the role of over-protective parents, Afghanistan suffers. With a budding oasis of democracy, we should gently guide her, not force her.
And who are we to judge? In recent elections, the American people have let two presidential election be outright stolen and Californians have sat idol as the Terminator demolished any chance of Enron accountability. We, in the states, may have a more civil electoral process, but politics are a dirty game all around the world.