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The farce that keeps on giving in Afghanistan

“The Obama administration is debating whether to make Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, a more central player in efforts to root out corruption in his own government, including giving him more oversight of graft investigations and notifying him before any arrests.”

This was the lead paragraph in a front page New York Times story on September 15 by reporters Mark Mazzetti and Rod Nordland.

President Obama, they wrote, has instructed key players in his administration to come up with more “sophisticated” guidelines for dealing with Afghan corruption. Specifically, they want to attack only that corruption that drives Afghans into the arms of the insurgency. All other corruption is OK.

The country that overthrew duly-elected moderate governments in Iran and Guatemala in the 1950s, sponsored a bloody 1973 coup in Chile and connived with France to bring down 40 years of war on the people of Vietnam is now “debating” whether to notify the elected president of a sovereign nation before it arrests members of his government?

What other than hubris gives us the right to do this kind of thing?

My wife has worked in the Darfur/Sudan movement for six years. If corruption is something the United States is now devoted to routing out, there’s plenty of it in the genocidal regime of Sudanese President Omar Bashir, a tyrant responsible for incredible scorched earth slaughter campaigns in both southern Sudan and Darfur in western Sudan.

Why don’t we just drop seven or eight infantry divisions with air support and drones into Khartoum and get busy routing out the corruption there?

Art by Marc AndersonArt by Marc Anderson

That, of course, is a stupid question. Anyone who knows anything about our Sudan policy understands that, despite the fact the International Criminal Court and our own Colin Powell have called Bashir’s activities “genocide,” we are cozying up to the Bashir government.

President Obama has sent Air Force Major General Scott Gratian, son of missionaries violently run out of the Congo, as a special envoy to make nice while the southern Sudanese plan to vote in January for independence from the north and the Bashir government.

The upcoming secession vote, fears of inciting anti-western, Islamic animosities and competition for resources with China keeps the US in a Bashir friendly mode.

If we assumed the role of world cop, took on corruption in Sudan and declared we were going to protect the Sudanese people like we are doing in Afghanistan, we would be creating another war like the one we created and are escalating in Afghanistan. And two wars is more than we can handle right now.

How did we get here?

How did ordinary Americans get themselves into such a mess where they are now forced to spend their hard-earned taxes (what Republicans want to cut) on making sure Afghan elites don’t rob the cookie jar jammed full of those tax resources?

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