Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login

Handy Guide to why Afghanistan is too corrupt to have American troops to die for

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009) Donate to DU
zulchzulu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-02-09 11:46 AM
Original message
Handy Guide to why Afghanistan is too corrupt to have American troops to die for
Edited on Mon Nov-02-09 12:07 PM by zulchzulu

President Hamid Karzai "won" the unriveled election on November 1, 2009 after the only rival, Abdullah Abdullah, dropped out of the election due to what he felt was going to be an election as corrupt as the August 20 presidential election.

How corrupt was the August 20 election? Besides ballot boxes being stuffed in many regions, you could buy your voter registration cards...

Several tribal leaders and local people in Helmand described a systematic attempt by supporters of Mr Karzai to collect or buy voter registration cards from local people.

One tribal elder in the Marja district of Helmand alleged that the vote rigging was being organised by members of Mr Karzais family and local tribal allies, particularly Sher Mohammad Akhundzada, the former governor of the province.

In Marja and other districts we cant vote because of security problems, he said. We are continuing to buy the cards. I am one of the people responsible for collecting cards in Marja. We bought the cards for $30 (18).

The man, who asked not to be identified, said that other elders were also collecting cards for Mr Karzai.

Behind the curtain it is the brother of Mr Karzai and Sher Mohammad Akhundzada who are working on this, he added.

What people should be extremely concerned about is the idea to send more troops and resources into Afghanistan now with the same rotted Karzai government in power and peddlers of the delusion pontificating that democracy can miraculously occur there. Should our troops fight and die for a narco-kleptocracy" (opium fueling money and money buying government posts)? Are people like Dick Cheney aware that Obama's "dithering" on this decision rests on funding billions of taxpayer dollars toward an Islamic state that will never be a democracy nor will even have its citizens recognize its own government? So more troops?

The US commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, has essentially told Mr. Obama that the US must repeat an Iraq-style surge in Afghanistan adding 40,000 troops to the 21,000 Obama has already sent to succeed.


The concern is that the Afghan government has become so rotted with corruption that it cannot consolidate the gains the US military makes. In other words, the US will never be able to leave Afghanistan unless theres at least a minimally effective government to help in the near term and then take over in the future.


The US Drug Enforcement Administration has accused Afghan President Hamid Karzais brother, Ahmed Wali, of running the opium trade in Kandahar Province.

Law and order in the country has collapsed as many police use their posts primarily as a platform for bribe-taking.

Even before the election, President Karzai had lost broad public support in Afghanistan because of his governments inability or unwillingness to stifle corruption. Indeed, it is corruption, not insecurity, that most angers Afghans. /

So let's talk about the specifics of just how corrupt Afghanistan is now:

Want to be a provincial police chief? It will cost you $100,000. Want to drive a convoy of trucks loaded with fuel across the country? Be prepared to pay $6,000 per truck, so the police will not tip off the Taliban. Need to settle a lawsuit over the ownership of your house? About $25,000, depending on the judge.

"It is very shameful, but probably I will pay the bribe," Mohammed Naim, a young English teacher, said as he stood in front of the Secondary Courthouse in Kabul. His brother had been arrested a week before, and the police were demanding $4,000 for his release. "Everything is possible in this country now. Everything."

Kept afloat by billions of dollars in American and other foreign aid, the government of Afghanistan is shot through with corruption and graft. From the lowliest traffic policeman to the family of President Hamid Karzai himself, the state built on the ruins of the Taliban government seven years ago now often seems to exist for little more than the enrichment of those who run it.


...the president's brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, are cooperating in the country's opium trade, now the world's largest. In the streets and government offices, hardly a public transaction seems to unfold here that does not carry with it the requirement of a bribe, a gift, or, in case you are a beggar, "harchee" - whatever you have in your pocket.


So the Karzai government and the Karzai brothers are corrupt to the core and there is no end in sight to changing anything about that. There's another issue where our troops should not have to die for protecting the Karzai government. It has to due with human rights in the most hideous of ways:

Afghanistan's President, Hamid Karzai, has signed a law which "legalises" rape, women's groups and the United Nations warn. Critics claim the president helped rush the bill through parliament in a bid to appease Islamic fundamentalists ahead of elections in August.

In a massive blow for women's rights, the new Shia Family Law negates the need for sexual consent between married couples, tacitly approves child marriage and restricts a woman's right to leave the home, according to UN papers seen by The Independent.


Most of Afghanistan's Shias are ethnic Hazaras, descended from Genghis Khan's Mongol army which swept through the entire region around 700 years ago. They are Afghanistan's third largest ethnic group, and potential kingmakers, because their leaders will likely back a mainstream candidate.

Even the law's sponsors admit Mr Karzai rushed it through to win their votes. Ustad Mohammad Akbari, a prominent Shia political leader, said: "It's electioneering. Most of the Hazara people are unhappy with Mr Karzai."

Some more background on this hideous policy that Karzai embraces:

n late March 2009, Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed into law an internationally condemned "Shia Family Law" which condones apparent spousal rape (in Article 132), child marriage and imposes purdah on married Afghan women. Although the offending legislation is said to have been dormant for a year, President Karzai was trying to gain the support of Afghan northern Shia legislators and the neighbouring Islamic Republic of Iran, which is Shia-dominated. According to Britain's Independent newspaper, the 'family code' was not read in the Upper House/Senate, and also enshrines gender discrimination in inheritance law and divorce against women.

If you want to monitor the human rights situation in Afghanistan, this is an excellent site:
Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission - /

The largest reason for corruption in Afghanistan is the opium trade due to being able to grow poppy. The illustration above shows where the danger zones are.

Any war that the West is usually interested in involves grabbing energy resources from third-world countries. This tidbit of information could provide some clues about our interest in the region:

The country's natural resources include gold, silver, copper, zinc and iron ore in southeastern areas; precious and semi-precious stones such as lapis, emerald and azure in the north-east; and potentially significant petroleum and natural gas reserves in the north. The country also has coal, chromite, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, and salt. However, these significant mineral and energy resources remain largely untapped due to the effects of the Soviet invasion and the subsequent civil war. Plans are underway to begin extracting them in the near future. /

Afghanistan has always been poor and there certainly is reason to want to aid the country, which is not a role for American troops to have while they are seen as occupiers:

Afghanistan is an impoverished country, one of the world's poorest and least developed. Two-thirds of the population lives on fewer than 2 US dollars a day. The economy has suffered greatly from the recent political and military unrest since the 1979 Soviet invasion and subsequent conflicts, while severe drought added to the nation's difficulties in 19982001.

The economically active population in 2002 was about 11 million (out of a total of an estimated 29 million). As of 2005, the official unemployment rate is at 40%. The number of non-skilled young people is estimated at 3 million, which is likely to increase by some 300,000 per annum. /

In summation, it is obvious that backing and having troops be in harm's way (and spending hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars) a corrupt government in Afghanistan is an ultimately failing strategy:

Mr. Karzai's close relationship with some warlords and distrusted leaders, possibly including members of his own family, has been a well-known problem since he became President in 2004. But now, as jockeying begins toward a 2009 presidential election and Western officials are increasingly anxious to bring stability to Afghanistan, Mr. Karzai's acquiescence to violent and deeply corrupt men is increasingly considered unsustainable.

I think there is an issue of corruption in this government, accepted by everybody, to include President Karzai, General Dan McNeill, the U.S. commander of the NATO coalition fighting in Afghanistan, said in an interview. Corruption, in my view, is the symptom, the disease is greed, and that works against what we're trying to do here.

Refresh | +8 Recommendations Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
tekisui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-02-09 11:48 AM
Response to Original message
1. knr!~
Especially for the link to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

Enough of the Endless Lost War.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
zulchzulu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-02-09 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Kerry's "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake..." comes to mind...
Besides the corruption, the human rights issues are indeed another reason not to side with Karzai...
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
zulchzulu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-03-09 12:11 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Maybe Kerry whispered his quote to Karzai when he was there last week n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-03-09 08:26 AM
Response to Reply #1
7. Malalai Joya offers this opinion:
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
zulchzulu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-03-09 11:23 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. Interesting interview...
I thought she was going to say we need to fight the Taliban because of their women's rights abuse, which is nicely phrasing it.

It sounds like her attempt at trying to build a democratic movement in Afghanistan is never going to happen in her lifetime and she knows it. That's tragic, but as long as Karzai is in power, it's never going to happen.

Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
zulchzulu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-03-09 01:06 AM
Response to Original message
4. Here are some of the arguments FOR staying in Afghanistan and my responses

"...the growing skepticism about Obamas chances for success in Afghanistan is largely based on deep misreadings of both the countrys history and the views of its people, which are often compounded by facile comparisons to the United Statess misadventures of past decades in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Afghanistan will not be Obamas Vietnam, nor will it be his Iraq. Rather, the renewed and better resourced American effort in Afghanistan will, in time, produce a relatively stable and prosperous Central Asian state."

- Peter Bergen "Winning the good war. Why Afghanistan is not Obama's Vietnam". Washington Monthly. July/August 2009

Somehow we can afford to work with a corrupt government that is run on narco-bribery and where villages have different languages than each other and send billions of dollars and have many die so we can have a magically prosperous nation... this is nation-building on acid.

"Always there is the illusion of the easy path. Always there is the illusion, which gripped Donald Rumsfeld and now grips many Democrats, that you can fight a counterinsurgency war with a light footprint, with cruise missiles, with special forces operations and unmanned drones. <...> There is simply no historical record to support these illusions. The historical evidence suggests that these middling strategies just create a situation in which you have enough forces to assume responsibility for a conflict, but not enough to prevail."

- David Brooks "The Afghan Imperative". New York Times. September 24, 2009

Send in the fodder. Grind the troops into a mashed up pile of wasted blood and carcuses. Heck, it's like the Good Old Days!

"Success in Afg is critical to protecting US/Western citizens. Sen. John McCain said in late September of 2009 that more U.S. troops are needed in Afghanistan, arguing that the longer it takes to send them, "the more Americans will be put at risk."

McCain is trying to tell us that the Taliban, who were not involved in the 9/11 attacks are comin' to git ya!

"Once the Taliban is back in power in Afghanistan, al-Qaeda will not be far behind. Our top nemesis will be able to salvage a victory in the very place from which it launched the 9/11 attacks eight years ago. Al-Qaeda will have its favorite bases and sanctuaries back, as well as a major propaganda win."

- Bruce Riedel and Michael O'Hanlon. "Why we can't go small in Afghanistan". USA Today. September 4, 2009

The Taliban got their asses kicked in 2002 because they were seen as being aligned with Al Qaeda. The last thing they want to have happen is to allow Al Qaeda, who are considered outsiders and troublemakers, to get involved in their control of the country. The logic of that argument is akin to the foolishness of the Cold War's "Domino Theory", for which was why we went to Vietnam.

"...defeat for the West in Afghanistan would embolden its opponents not just in Pakistan, but all around the world, leaving it open to more attacks."

- "Obama's war. Why the Afghanistan war deserves more resources, commitment and political will." The Economist. October 15, 2009

This is from the Endless War Except Don't Send My Children Crowd. It's a hybrid of the fearmongering "Domino Theory" with a lot from the Project For A New American Century Neocon playbook. Oddly, there seems to be no understanding that having an occupying force in Afghanistan will only make for an excellent recruiting tool for the same people these asshats want us to fear.

"It's too expensive. Yes, but not nearly as costly as the treasure that evaporated following that same September morning. You won't find an estimate of the cost of war in Afghanistan that comes anywhere close to the toll on our economy following 9/11."

- Ripper McCord. "The case for Afghanistan". TPM Cafe. September 2, 2009

Yep. The Taliban did it! So we need to send in the troops and stay there forever. Wanna see that 9/11 video again? Scared? Good!

Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
jeanpalmer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-03-09 05:14 AM
Response to Original message
5. What's the penalty
for stuffing ballot boxes with a million votes? Well, you have to submit to another election. The charade continues...
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
ShortnFiery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-03-09 07:14 AM
Response to Original message
6. Well researched. Sincere "thanks."
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
IndianaGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-03-09 09:32 AM
Response to Original message
8. Afghanistan is Obama's Vietnam
and he jumped right into that quagmire with both eyes open.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
zulchzulu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-03-09 09:45 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Hopefully he goes against the grain and radically changes the "mission"
If I were him, I'd say we are leaving as an occupying force. I'd set up a Peace Coalition with the bordering countries and do three major things:
  • Begin negotiations to set up the TAPI Gas Pipeline in the southern and western region of Afghanistan with Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India.
  • Seek some kind of negotiations with Iran and Pakistan to try to stop Al Qaeda from coming into Afghanistan and/or isolating them in the upper Pustan region
  • Try to make the poppy farming production to go toward producing morphine and other pharmaceuticals instead of just opium and heroin
  • Allow human rights groups to educate the Afghan people about treating women better
  • Use proceeds from the TAPI pipeline to build highways along the route as well as try to build transmission line systems connected to wind farms and solar farms to bring reliable electricity in the region.

The key thing is trying to strengthen the region by getting Afghanistan's neighbors involved and to leave the region as an occupying force.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Wed Jul 26th 2017, 09:53 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators

Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC