Friday, August 21, 2009

Phoney Election Shows Bankruptcy of Afghanistan Occupation

Phony election shows bankruptcy of Afghan occupation

By John Catalinotto
Published Aug 20, 2009 8:39 PM

More than 100,000 troops from the Pentagon and its NATO allies now occupy Afghanistan. They are inflicting more deaths and terror on the Afghans. They are also dying in record numbers now, nearly eight years after the initial U.S. invasion.

The occupation forces imposed a presidential election on that suffering country on Aug. 20.

Incumbent Hamid Karzai, who the U.S. appointed interim leader in 2001 and made sure came out on top of the 2002 infighting, won the first U.S.-managed election in 2004. Because of his scant popular support across Afghanistan and his narrow area of control, Karzai has been derisively referred to as the “mayor of Kabul.”

He is still Washington’s first choice for president, and favored to win the Aug. 20 election.

Only the pro-U.S., pro-NATO, corporate media could possibly argue that an election in an occupied country will give “legitimacy” to the leaders there.

Despite the strong U.S. backing for Karzai, the corporate media hedge their bets by explaining how he might lose, or at least not win in the first round. Unless he gets more than 50 percent of the vote, a run-off will be needed in October. Polls show Karzai with only 45 percent support. (Reuters, Aug. 17)

The Aug. 17 New York Times made further excuses for Karzai, blaming a loss in votes for the incumbent on threats from the resistance in Pashtun areas. Karzai is from the Pashtun ethnic group, so those areas are supposed to be his stronghold, although they are also areas where the Taliban—the major group in the resistance—is strongest.

Karzai himself made a last-minute deal with “former Uzbek militia leader, Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, [who] jetted back into Afghanistan from exile in Turkey, perhaps to deliver enough support to swing the election for Karzai in a single round.” (Reuters, Aug. 17) Even the pro-U.S./NATO corporate media call Dostum a “warlord.”

Casualties grow among NATO troops

With an explosion that killed three British troops—who now number over 9,000—the total killed of those soldiers went up to 204. Popular anti-war sentiment is growing in Britain, which has a long history, dating from the 19th century, of taking heavy casualties while failing to conquer Afghanistan.

Despite this popular hostility to the war, Britain’s incoming army chief, Gen. David Richards, has said, “I believe that the UK will be committed to Afghanistan in some manner, development, governance, security sector reform, for the next 30 to 40 years.” (BBC, Aug. 7) And Prime Minister Gordon Brown has continued to defend British participation in the U.S.-led occupation.

A similar scenario is playing out in Italy, Germany, France and Spain, where the governments are trying to increase their military’s role, but where the populations are a majority to three-quarters for leaving Afghanistan either now or within a year. These governments have taken advantage of U.S. President Barack Obama’s popularity in Europe to defend participation in the unpopular occupation.

The reality is that Washington has made participation in the Afghanistan occupation a condition for each of these countries sharing in the domination and exploitation of the world. Thus the governments push for war while the vast majority of the people prefer to stay out of the conflict. It’s a recipe for a collapse of the effort similar to what happened in Iraq.

A sober assessment from a U.S. officer

The U.S. 10th Mountain Division—which does its training at Fort Drum in upstate New York near the Canadian border—is now in Afghanistan taking part in the U.S. offensive aimed at holding things together for the election. Col. David Haight commands the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of that division in Logar and Wardak provinces near Kabul.

Haight had this assessment of the attitude of the Afghans should Karzai win the election: “I think that apathy is going to turn into some anger when the administration doesn’t change, and I don’t think that anybody believes that Karzai is going to lose. There is going to be frustration from people who realize there is not going to be a change. The bottom line is they are going to be thinking: ‘Four more years of this crap?’” (, July 9)

More of the occupation troops were killed in July—71—than in any other month since 2001. August is following that trend. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has been openly defending the war, as does the president.

And they are openly backing the unpopular Karzai, who is allied with the military leaders who ran Afghanistan into the ground and restored the opium trade. Just as in Europe—as well as in Afghanistan—the people in the United States are unlikely to be ready to take “four more years of this crap.”

Articles copyright 1995-2009 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011
Page printed from:

No comments: