(I started writing this 2 weeks ago and got side-tracked)
So depending on who's shoveling shit into your ear, today was either a great day for Afghan democracy, or just another example of business as usual in the weary war-torn country. Today's acceptance speech by President-until-NATO-kicks-him-out Hamid Karzai marks another sad page in Afghanistan's painful, bitter history. It shows the retreat of what could have been a meaningful foreign policy decision by the NATO powers vis-a-vis the endemic corruption that permeates the Afghan political community. Instead, we all get to sit back and watch as the status quo remains the same and the corrupt flunkies that caused the initial snafu are allowed to keep their jobs.
Remember that this all began with the elections in August in which there was so much wide-spread voter fraud that some of the ballots for Hamid Karzai were still in their original ballot booklets. And don't forget the imaginary polling places that never opened their doors to the voting public but still managed to rack up thousands upon thousands of votes for President Karzai.
Despite many people's claims that Karzai is a puppet of the West, it's even worse than that. If he were our puppet and he did what we told him, there would be some arguments to justify the complete perversion of our imposed democratic system over there in the interests of calm, stability, and development. But he isn't even our puppet. He's the puppet of the drug growing rapists who run Aghanistan today and that's one of the few things that could be even worse than if he were a Western puppet.
In the past year we have seen the Afghan parliament come up with laws that allow for husbands to withhold food from wives who withhold sex. We have seen President Karzai pardon a group of powerful elites who somehow managed to find themselves convicted of rape (something that is extremely difficult to convict someone of in Afghanistan). We have seen an escalation in NATO and civilian deaths and yet the British and the American leaders are still talking about "how many" more troops to deploy in the region as opposed to "why are we in the region?"
The best possible course of action for the Afghan people, and the NATO soldiers who are dying or being wounded trying to do what their leaders tell them is the right thing to do, is for NATO to withdraw from Afghanistan immediately. It does not appear that Karzai's government has any interest in curbing corruption or correcting the misogyny that exists in their laws and so it does not seem fitting for us to stay there. The presence of Western soldiers in Afghanistan creates a recruiting bonanza for terrorist groups and inevitably leads to more civilian casualties, which further undermines any stabilizing missions our soldiers are undertaking.
As the FoxNews Opiniontainment says over and over again, where's the Hope and Change you promised us Mr. President? Change course from the Bush/Cheney policies in Aghanistan and give the world hope in a new American foreign policy; one that isn't stained with blood.