A funny thing happened on the way to democracy in
Washington's well-laid plan was that American
troops and development experts could keep this unruly tribal-nation from again
becoming a haven for al Qaeda terrorists. How? By establishing a central,
non-corrupt, democratically-elected government credible enough to win the
respect of the Afghan people, provide security, and deliver essential
Unfortunately, the plan has gone awry, for the guy
expected by Washington to win Afghanistan's August 20th presidential election
is a loser. He's Hamid Karzai, the incumbent president, and he defiantly did not
set a sterling example of clean government in his campaign. He chose an accused
drug smuggler as his running mate, used government employees as his campaign
agents, and bribed tribal chieftains to support him.
Then came a breathtaking level of electoral
thievery by Karzai. Some polling
places never opened yet, magically, each reported
near-unanimous votes for Karzai. Dozens of phantom polling places places that
don't exist also voted overwhelmingly for him. Tribal villages reported twice
as many votes for Karzai as there were people. Finally, after weeks of vote
hand-picked election commission officially declared
him the victor.
This is our democratic hope?
European election monitors say that a third of
Karzai's ballots are suspect,
and even Washington had to blanch at the fraud. A
UN-backed commission is now examining the disputed ballots, and a runoff
election may be called. Karzai, ever clueless and arrogant, is demanding that
Western government's "respect the peoples' vote."
So, if America's plan for Afghanistan can't get
past step one, its time to scrap the whole thing and find a plan B.