Monday, November 2, 2009

News Talk Online November 2, 2009: Abdullah Exit, Karzai Declaration, Provide An Opportunity Obama May Miss

By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network

Administration officials are now saying that the announcement by contender Abdullah Abdullah to sit out Afghanistan's runoff presidential election won't affect President Obama's policy decisions. But should the White House really so quickly dismiss the significance of Abullah's decision?

It's been generally accepted, including by General Stanley McChrystal who has requested more troops, that the mission, whatever it is, is doomed for failure without a legitimate, corruption-free government in place.

The election that forced the runoff was fraught with fraud. Abullah withdrew because he was not convinced that the runoff would be anymore fair. The nation's election commission has now declared incumbent Hamid Harzai the winner and has canceled the runoff. This is all, however, causing qustions about the legitimacy of Karzai's election.

Abullah's withdrawal and the unilateral declaration of Karzai's election provide Obama ample opportunity to re-evaluate the war. It's true that he inherited this action. But it's also true that he has said that Afghanistan, unlike Iraq, is the right place to be.

Most Americans would probably agree - assuming that the mission is to get those responsible for the September 11 attacks. But they might not be so quick to support the war if the mission is to protect the Karzai government.

But the administration is signaling otherwise. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has declared that the United States will continue to work with Karzai. Something that those who question the evolved mission, may see as missing an opportunity to get out.





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