Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Last Thoughts On The Afghan Election

There's a lot happening in the world, but I wanted to share a few last links about the Afghan election debacle. The first is an editorial by Peter Galbraith, who was the UN official who sounded the alarm about the massive fraud in the Afghan election in the first place. I'd say those credentials alone make his editorial worth reading, but Galbraith also debunks a major claim making the rounds, namely that President Hamid Karzai would have won the election anyway, fraud or not.

This bit of "wisdom" is being offered up as a justification for continuing Western support of the thoroughly corrupt Karzai regime. But Galbraith argues that it's a big assumption to make. An audit of the votes cast in the August 20th election dropped Karzai below the 50% threshold needed to trigger a run-off, once officials hit that target though, they stopped examining the votes. Galbraith claims that his sources indicate if all the votes were examined and all the bad ones tossed, the results would have been Karzai 41% / Abdullah 34%. A seven-percent deficit certainly isn't insurmountable in a run-off election - if the second round was run fairly - so this notion that Karzai would have won regardless is a pretty big assumption to make.

Germany's Der Spiegel, meanwhile, offers a round-up of opinions from the German media about the elections in Afghanistan. The take-away is that they pretty much all view Karzai's "victory" as a fraud and most question the ongoing purpose of the Afghan mission.

And finally Fox News of all places offers up an editorial by analyst KT McFarland who says that in the wake of Karzai's stealing the election the US should "pull the plug" on our Afghanistan mission. Now I ripped KT a couple of weeks ago for an utter lack of knowledge on current events in Russia, but this time I think she makes a good argument - the real security/terrorism problem lies in Pakistan so why should the US continue to spend lives and money propping up a corrupt government in Kabul?
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