Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Karzai’s Purple Finger

It appears that the only reliably non-fraudulent vote in Afghanistan’s election was the one sitting president Hamid Karzai cast for himself. A picture in the Guardian of Karzai holding up his purple finger makes him look like he’s flipping off the universe. We haven’t seen a smirk like that on a head of state since our neoconservative lawn edging was in office.

The Guardian article says Karzai “will bow to international pressure today and concede that he did not win a clear majority in Afghanistan's bitterly contested election, and also accept there should be a second round of voting.” That sounds peachy at first listen, but what do we suppose will change in another round of voting? All the little Afghan crooks will run away and let the electoral process work like it’s supposed to? Jesus, Mary and Shemp, we can’t make that happen in Ohio or Florida.

On the Oct. 18 Sunday political gabfests, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel waxed willful about how the president and his national security team will not make any decision on whether or not to further escalate the Afghanistan war until the election results have been sorted out. I suspect this was a weak-breasted effort to toss a half-filled sandbag on the levee, to say, hey, we tried to turn the tide back, but alas. Tough guy Emanuel is as bloated with methane as everybody else in Washington, and he can hiss it out his keyhole as well as anybody else too.

It looks to me like the Obama crew is looking for an excuse to give Stanley McChrystal, the mad military scientist whose public affairs sycophants claim seldom sleeps or eats (how did that become something to brag about?) what he wants without seeming like they drove him downtown for dinner and a drink. (Make of that metaphor what you will.)

Whether Karzai does or does not come out on top of a run-off election doesn’t matter. Either way, he sucks like the vacuum over the Moon. Anybody else we plop in his place will suck just as hard.

As an Oct. 20 New York Times story explains, it’s too late to hold another election before the bitter Afghan winter sets in, so the administration is trying to convince Karzai to form a coalition government with his main political opponent, Abdullah Abdullah. But that arrangement will make for a government as puppet-like as the one Afghanistan has now. A “senior administration official” says that, “some American diplomats and allies were pressing for a negotiated settlement, but were trying not to be too involved for fear of looking as though they were interfering.”

As the unnamed official said, “If you jam it, it has no legitimacy and you’re further behind.” So, the unnamed official said, the administration is “creating conditions” so Afghans see a coalition deal as being in their own interests.

What puppy twaddle.

We Americans have thought of ourselves as gods for far too long.

Witless Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says President Obama needs to quit worrying about how the Afghan process is going and just give McChrystal what he wants, which may involve sending up to 80,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan. Gates, a bureaucrat savant, has made a career out of accommodating up and down, out of knowing how to keep his subordinates and superiors alike happy. He knows how to “get along to get along,” as we used to say in the Navy.

Among Obama’s most foolish choices was to keep Gates in place, along with the rest of the long war mafia, a motley crowd that includes “King David” Petraeus, Mike Mullen, Ray Odierno and McChrystal who, as commander of the Joint Special Operations Command from 2003 to 2008, was a three-star assassin who tracked down and killed “high value targets” and whoever else happened to be in the neighborhood.

You have to wonder how much longer Obama will put up with the velvet junta he inherited. The long war mafia has been waging an information war against President Obama since he was Candidate Obama. With help from its access-poisoned media sources, Tom Ricks being a notable example, the Pentagon has been dropping shells on its commander in chief regarding the Afghanistan situation since an Oct. 18 McClatchy article that suggested McChrystal might resign if he doesn’t get his way.

As founding father and our fourth president James Madison said, “Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.” President Dwight David Eisenhower warned us that the “unwarranted influence” of the military industrial complex would persist, and it has.

Thomas Jefferson admonished us to be a country that promoted "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none."

George Washington told us to “ avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments, which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty.”

We need to flip off our overgrown military establishment, and learn to conduct a kinder, gentler flavor of foreign policy.

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes at Pen and Sword. Jeff's novel Bathtub Admirals (Kunati Books), a lampoon on America's rise to global dominance, is on sale now.

thtub Admirals (Kunati Books), a lampoon on America's rise to global dominance, is on sale now.


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