Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Karzai and "Corruption"

From the NY Times today, front page, a headline: "Obama Presses Afghan Leader on Corruption." Well, you know what follows: If only we could get rid of the "corruption" in Afghanistan then all would be well. Problems: (1) Does anyone remember the same assertions being made in Vietnam, about their governments? All the time with: Oh, they are so corrupt. Why won't they clean up their mess? (2) Well, they don't because what we call "corruption," they call government. That is, this alleged "corruption" is how the government worked in Vietnam and it is how the government works in Afghanistan. It is also how, in similar but not identical ways, government works in the United States. Does anyone really think that the highly profitable drug trade we have in this country could exist without the cooperation of government officials? If so, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn I will sell you, Miss Little Nelly Sunshine. Government and "corruption" go together like or even better than love and marriage! You want corruption? How about Halliburton and Dick Cheney and how much money the former made while the latter was Vice President. The Times points out that Karzai's brother is "a suspected player in the country's booming illegal opium trade." And it also points out that one General Dostum was involved in the killing of thousands of Taliban prisoners of war early in the war there. But despite the fact that Obama asked for an investigation of this General this past summer, Karzai allowed him to return and reinstated him to his government position. Why? Because he is a necessary part of the government. You know, like General McChrystal, who participated the cover up of Pat Tillman's death by "friendly fire' ["friendly fire isn't"], is now advising Obama. So to ask Karzai to end corruption is to ask him to do the impossible. But it makes a good sound bite and, thereafter, more American soldiers can die and be maimed for the sake of this sound bite. Just like in Vietnam. For Real!

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