Afghan elections: 80% puppetry, 20% political drama

In less than two weeks, Afghanistan will hold its second presidential elections since the United States occupied that country in November 2001. Democratic elections, we deem them to be, although many Afghans and foreigners alike consider the process more of an American coronation of another vassal-monarch from that celebrated dynasty: the House of Dollar. Of course, the title is one of president; Zahir Shah being the last king, one never to lay claim to the throne since deposed in 1973 – now dead for two years.

As much as I have always been drawn to both culture and history from that part of the world, I have never visited the land, and have known but a few Afghans that I never considered being representative of that nation; all from the upper class, either university students or well-off professionals choosing their own exile. And during the last six years in which I have extended notes and commentary in my columns about this rugged, exotic (to me) land, I have relied greatly on briefings/discussions by/with my European journalist friend, Mingo, whose judgment and impartiality I trust, an unquestionable Afghanphile who has spent almost eight years of the last decade in that country, speaks fluent Dari and has innumerable friends and connections throughout that land.

“Americans’ ill-placed honor,” Mingo tells me, “may force the White House, Pentagon and Congress to stay on with this war in the manner they did with Vietnam four decades ago; but your stay in Afghanistan, if that’s the path Obama chooses, will be as painful or worse… and eventually, just as they did to the Russians, the Pashtun will kick you out.”

Americans shouldn’t count on a round one victory for Pres. Hamid Karzai on August 20; that is, unless the turnout in the southern Pashtun region is very strong, or the fraud that has been perpetrated in voter registration was deeply rigged to favor the present leader, more so than any of the other 35 candidates. As far as Mingo sees it, corruption is so pervasive in government – at both federal and provincial levels – that some voters could end up going to the polls several times. But whether Karzai comes out victor, or one of his top two rivals – former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah and ex-finance minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai – is able to muster a coalition to dethrone him, the country will remain in the “good hands of corruption” that seems to be part of everyone’s life, and one of the fundamental reasons for the rebellion of so many Afghans against the West and those amongst them who benefit from the occupiers’ presence. Mingo is convinced that, overwhelmingly, the population looks back with nostalgia at the days of peace and Islamic justice, sharia, when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan.

During the past half century Afghans have been exposed to both the preaching and the practices of three distinct political philosophies: socialism “Soviet Union -style,” fundamentalist Islam from the Taliban, and that democratic capitalism espoused by the West – more specifically, American capitalism. To Mingo, their choice and loyalty may be split from time to time, but the latter clearly emerges as a poor third choice. So if Americans insist in staying there, it is to secure their own interests…and not the overall interests of the Afghan people, no matter how many places Americans help secure in schools for women, or how much is spent in public relations when Afghans’ eyes and ears are tuned to the number of civilian casualties our military inflicts in the process of killing the Taliban. Not a pretty picture, particularly when compared to the Russian “collateral experience” there… and from a military with such accurate weaponry as the Pentagon claims. And, of course, sartorial Hamid Karzai is always caught in the middle, defending the occupiers, yet trying to appear to his people as their ombudsman.

White House, Pentagon and even the Afghan government may downplay the concerns expressed by think-tanks – the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) topping them all – as to how significant the presence of the Taliban is in most parts of Afghanistan. But casualties that both America and other NATO members are likely to suffer will eventually tell it all. And, Mingo claims, the 2007 plan of the Taliban to have this geometric progression in hostilities in their campaign to retake the country by 2011 is running like clockwork. So far, their overall strategy and nature of their tactics are proving them to be right on the money.

But if our CIA is inefficient or derelict in bringing this reality to the White House, Israel’s Mossad is not, and they have their Zionist marionettes in the top slots of the appropriate committees of the US Senate trying to get the White House to double (or triple) the number of Afghan forces in the next two years, at whatever cost “they” (a Senate that obviously will work for AIPEC and not the interests of the American people) would be willing to fund, perhaps as much as $30 billion in the next two years. Yep, Israel can count on Senators Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and Joseph Lieberman, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, to get the job done. And a Rahm Emanuel at the White House is ready to cram it down the President’s throat!

But a 400,000 or 500,000 Afghan combined military-police force won’t stop the Taliban, says Mingo, and most of such “trained force” is likely to defect to the Taliban, at the proper time, against their nation’s puppet regime.

Is America’s military presence in Afghanistan one of economic and military interests, or is it just Americans’ instinct to ask “how high” when the Israelis ask them to jump? A rather easy but embarrassing question that needs to be asked!