Phony election shows bankruptcy of Afghan occupation
Published Aug 20, 2009 8:39 PM
More than 100,000 troops from the Pentagon and its NATO allies now occupy
Afghanistan. They are inflicting more deaths and terror on the Afghans. They
are also dying in record numbers now, nearly eight years after the initial U.S.
The occupation forces imposed a presidential election on that suffering
country on Aug. 20.
Incumbent Hamid Karzai, who the U.S. appointed interim leader in 2001 and made
sure came out on top of the 2002 infighting, won the first U.S.-managed
election in 2004. Because of his scant popular support across Afghanistan and
his narrow area of control, Karzai has been derisively referred to as the
“mayor of Kabul.”
He is still Washington’s first choice for president, and favored to win
the Aug. 20 election.
Only the pro-U.S., pro-NATO, corporate media could possibly argue that an
election in an occupied country will give “legitimacy” to the
Despite the strong U.S. backing for Karzai, the corporate media hedge their
bets by explaining how he might lose, or at least not win in the first round.
Unless he gets more than 50 percent of the vote, a run-off will be needed in
October. Polls show Karzai with only 45 percent support. (Reuters, Aug. 17)
The Aug. 17 New York Times made further excuses for Karzai, blaming a loss in
votes for the incumbent on threats from the resistance in Pashtun areas. Karzai
is from the Pashtun ethnic group, so those areas are supposed to be his
stronghold, although they are also areas where the Taliban—the major
group in the resistance—is strongest.
Karzai himself made a last-minute deal with “former Uzbek militia leader,
Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, [who] jetted back into Afghanistan from exile in
Turkey, perhaps to deliver enough support to swing the election for Karzai in a
single round.” (Reuters, Aug. 17) Even the pro-U.S./NATO corporate media
call Dostum a “warlord.”
Casualties grow among NATO troops
With an explosion that killed three British troops—who now number over
9,000—the total killed of those soldiers went up to 204. Popular anti-war
sentiment is growing in Britain, which has a long history, dating from the
19th century, of taking heavy casualties while failing to conquer
Despite this popular hostility to the war, Britain’s incoming army chief,
Gen. David Richards, has said, “I believe that the UK will be committed
to Afghanistan in some manner, development, governance, security sector reform,
for the next 30 to 40 years.” (BBC, Aug. 7) And Prime Minister Gordon
Brown has continued to defend British participation in the U.S.-led
A similar scenario is playing out in Italy, Germany, France and Spain, where
the governments are trying to increase their military’s role, but where
the populations are a majority to three-quarters for leaving Afghanistan either
now or within a year. These governments have taken advantage of U.S. President
Barack Obama’s popularity in Europe to defend participation in the
The reality is that Washington has made participation in the Afghanistan
occupation a condition for each of these countries sharing in the domination
and exploitation of the world. Thus the governments push for war while the vast
majority of the people prefer to stay out of the conflict. It’s a recipe
for a collapse of the effort similar to what happened in Iraq.
A sober assessment from a U.S. officer
The U.S. 10th Mountain Division—which does its training at Fort Drum in
upstate New York near the Canadian border—is now in Afghanistan taking
part in the U.S. offensive aimed at holding things together for the election.
Col. David Haight commands the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of that division in
Logar and Wardak provinces near Kabul.
Haight had this assessment of the attitude of the Afghans should Karzai win the
election: “I think that apathy is going to turn into some anger when the
administration doesn’t change, and I don’t think that anybody
believes that Karzai is going to lose. There is going to be frustration from
people who realize there is not going to be a change. The bottom line is they
are going to be thinking: ‘Four more years of this crap?’”
(guardian.co.uk, July 9)
More of the occupation troops were killed in July—71—than in any
other month since 2001. August is following that trend. U.S. Vice President Joe
Biden has been openly defending the war, as does the president.
And they are openly backing the unpopular Karzai, who is allied with the
military leaders who ran Afghanistan into the ground and restored the opium
trade. Just as in Europe—as well as in Afghanistan—the people in
the United States are unlikely to be ready to take “four more years of
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