By Gareth Porter
(Left: The three stooges)
"Afghanistan’s presidential election has long been viewed by U.S. officials as a key to conferring legitimacy on the Afghan government, but Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his powerful warlord allies have planned to commit large-scale electoral fraud that could have the opposite effect.
Two U.S.-financed polls published during the past week showed support for Karzai falls well short of the 51 percent of the vote necessary to avoid a runoff election. A poll by Glevum Associates showed Karzai at 36 percent, and a survey by the International Republican Institute had him at 44 percent of the vote.
Those polls suggest that Karzai might have to pad his legitimate vote total by much as 40 percent to be certain of being elected in the first round......
Australian counterinsurgency specialist David Kilcullen, who will shortly become a senior adviser to Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, declared at the U.S. Institute of Peace Aug. 6, "The biggest fear is Karzai ends up as an incredibly illegitimate figure, and we end up owning Afghanistan and propping up an illegitimate government." "