The Karzai Gambit


From Monday’s LA Times:
“KABUL, Afghanistan — In a dramatic face-to-face rebuke to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a grand council of Afghan dignitaries voted Sunday to approve a proposed 10-year security agreement with the United States by the end of the year, agreeing to an American-imposed deadline.The white-bearded chairman of the council, known as a loya jirga, told Karzai he miscalculated when the Afghan president demanded a delay in signing the agreement until next spring. Chairman Sibghatullah Mojaddedi lectured Karzai, warning that if he delays signing the agreement, “I’ll resign and leave the country.”If he had listened to my advice, we wouldn’t have this problem today,” Mojaddedi, 89, a former Afghan president and longtime confidant and mentor to Karzai, said as the president sat stiffly a few paces away.

But Karzai remained adamant that he will not sign the accord until after the Afghan presidential election in April.  That stubborn stance has infuriated U.S. officials, who Friday imposed a Dec. 31 deadline.”

Since October 7, 2001, the United States has maintained a military presence in a country which, at the time we made our presence known, harbored the “mastermind” of the 9-11 attacks on NYC and DC. Initially, we were welcomed by the people as their savior from the dreaded Taliban. As you recall, this was the group which stifled individual freedoms, placed women in subservient positions in society, and championed the causes of Osama bin Laden.

Once we drove the Taliban out, we installed a “more democratic” form of government, led by Hamid Karzai. He was brought to Washington, sat in the Presidential box at a joint session of Congress for the State of the Union speech, and was lauded by President Bush for his support of our troops and our cause.

Over the years, we have learned that the Karzai family has been involved in and may have led the lucrative opium and heroin drug trades, making millions, if not billions, while American and NATO troops continued to  be maimed and killed to support this corrupt government. We had long ago lost our primary objective of capturing bin Laden, when in December, 2001 we had our best chance to capture him at Tora Bora and lost him, probably with the support of anti-American factions of Afghan society. Yet, we continued to fight opposition forces with the hope that we would somehow be fighting for democracy and freedom for the Afghan people.

President Karzai has made his feelings known that he would be willing to enter into a coalition government with the Taliban, and yet we continue to maintain our presence. Americans continue to die not only in the field of battle, but also by Afghan support troops on our own bases. And we stay. And we want a Status of Forces agreement. Why?

We should learn the lessons from the Soviet occupation and subsequent withdrawal of Afghanistan in 1989 that this country is a lost cause for whatever improvement we thought we could teach the people to advance into a more modern society. They didn’t want the Soviets there, and they certainly don’t want us there, either.

A Status of Forces agreement in this society would be unenforceable because the troops which stay would be like ducks in the arcade. They would continue to be shot at, would not have the right to retaliate, and ultimately, while the agreement would protect them from prosecution by the Afghan government, would not protect them from persecution by the people in the streets. And the Afghan government would stand idly by as it happened.

So, let’s take down the bases and the other assets we built, pull the troops out now and let “our pal” Karzai twist in the wind. After all, that will be his fate, much like Mussolini at the end of WWII. We should not provide safe passage to this most anti-American of people. Let him bribe the warlords with the billions of American dollars he has stolen over the years. He will still be strung up when it’s all over.

Yes, we finally got bin Laden, with no help at all from Afghanistan, or for that matter, our other “ally” in the region, Pakistan. The sooner we leave these barbarians behind, the better off we will be. The world views us with disgust and disdain anyway, so let’s just bring our troops home and be done with it.

Good luck to you, Mr Karzai. You certainly earned your fate by your own actions against your own people. And don’t come calling on us to save your ass from your destiny. We were there and you dumped all over us. You earned it all by yourself, just like you did with the lifestyle you lived while we were there. It’s called justice for abuse of power.

Say hello to Osama for us.


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