Sunday, June 27, 2010
Report: Karzai government derails corruption probes
By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network
His election was as dubious as that of Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but the United States decided to - nevertheless - support him. He's been criticized for not clamping down on corruption in government. But now, Afhgan President Hamid Karzai is accused of going even further - by impeding investigations into that corruption.
That, according to a report in the Washington Post which quotes U.S. officials as saying they have proof that top officials in the Karzai government have derailed corruption probes.
A spokesman for Karzai denies it. But the United States is said to have forensic evidence - including wiretaps - which prove that it is true.
For a long time I've been questioning the mission in Afghanistan. U.S. and other NATO troops ostensibly originally invaded Afghanistan in search of Osama bin Laden and his cohorts. But lately, it's become a case of nation-building and propping up a regime that has questionable legitimacy and limited real authority over the country.
The Nation magazine recently reported on how U.S. contractors are paying the very Taliban that the NATO forces are battling in Afghanistan for safe passage of their trucks and supplies through regions that the Taliban controls.
You don't have to be high and watching Alice In Wonderland to realize that something's wrong with the reflection from the looking glass here.
Here's how it looks to anyone outside the Beltway. The corrupt and illegitimate government of Hamid Karzai is being protected by the might of the military of several NATO nations - most notably the United States. Even United States government representatives are acknowledging this publicly now. And still, as Sonny and Cher sang, "the beat goes on."
When George W. Bush was president of the United States, anti-war activists took to the street en masse because he increased the number of troops in Iraq and his withdrawal plan was too slow.
President Obama's campaign focused on those issues. He promised to bring the troops home earlier. Yet, not only has he continued following the Bush Iran withdrawal timetable, he emulated his predecessor's Iraq policy by increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan.
Now he's appointing Gen. David Petraus, who he criticized while he was a senator, to lead U.S. military operations in Afghanistan. Petraus should fit in there because he was the architect of the surge in Iraq when Bush was commander-in-chief.
But now that there is a Democrat in the White House, the anti-war movement is largely silent. Suggesting that partisanship trumps what's best for the nation.
I'm not really certain what the mission is these days in Afghanistan - but it doesn't seem like it's much about nabbing public enemy number one anymore. A more accurate explanation would be that the Obama administration is propping up a corrupt government in Kabul.
Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman told us that "war is hell." Sometimes it's also moral and necessary. This latest report about the conduct of the Karzai administration furthers the argument that the war in Afghanistan is neither.
U.S. Navy photo: Petty Officer 1st Class Mark O’Donald/released