Sunday, August 23, 2009

Afghanistan: “Serious and Deteriorating”

It was no surprise to see former Deputy PM John Manley once again stumping for the occupation of Afghanistan. He’s made it his favourite past-time to promote this particular Canadian adventure in killing people.
I can’t decide whether he’s the Tories’ fifth column in the Liberal Party, or the Liberals’ fifth column in the Tory party. It’s a particularly tough call because, let’s face it, Iggy is just Stephen Harper with more letters after his name.
More interesting than Manley's career-boosting was the response of the international media to the presidential elections in Afghanistan. Even Rosie DiManno, who usually writes like as though she were competing for the job of DND spokesperson with her pal Christie Blatchford, wrote an article that began with an account of the levels of corruption in this election.
“What the observers saw: Underage voters, illiterates being told who to mark their ballots for, monitors ejected from polling centres, men acting as proxy voters for women and, in at least one case, somebody hauling a pre-stuffed ballot box into a polling station.”
Over in the New York Times, rather than a laudatory article about what great progress the present elections represent, we instead had a piece about Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chariman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – America’s highest ranking military honcho – on CNN running down the state of the occupation. “Things are serious and deteriorating,” he says. It doesn’t help that a majority of Americans now oppose “Obama’s war”.
Somebody should remind Obama what happened to Lyndon Johnson. Especially since, as the NYT article points out, it is likely that US generals will be asking to ramp up American troop numbers even further than the 17,000 to which Obama already gave the thumbs up.
Over in Afghanistan, the stuffed ballot boxes weren’t even cold when one crook who ran for president and lost, Abdullah Abdullah, was already calling another crook who ran for president and won, Hamid Karzai, a, well, a crook. The real purpose of the election was laid out by Malalai Joya who has opposed the corruption and tyranny of Karzai’s government and for her efforts was not only expelled from the Afghan parliament but is now in hiding, had this to say:
“We Afghans know that this election will change nothing and it is only part of a show of democracy put on by, and for, the West, to legitimise its future puppet in Afghanistan. It seems we are doomed to see the continuation of this failed, mafia-like, corrupt government for another term.”
It’s almost sad that the charade of this election has fallen apart before we even have the official results. Well, it would be sad if the charade weren’t about justifying NATO troops, including Canadians, killing Afghans to prop up a government of warlords, drug lords, misogynists and human rights abusers.
If Canada and NATO are so interested in democracy, perhaps they’ll let the people of Afghanistan vote on whether they want them to leave. And maybe they’ll act on the democratic sentiments of the clear majority in NATO countries and bring the troops home.
Sadly, with Iggy and Harper acting as two cheeks of the same belligerent ass (pardon the mental image) that change isn’t likely to happen at our ballot box any more than it will in Afghanistan.
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