Saturday, October 24, 2009

Obama’s Afghanistan Vaudeville

By Tony Karon

"......The reality, of course, is that Kerry’s insistence on standing behind Karzai, as if twisting the visibly uncomfortable U.S.-installed president’s arm as he announced a humiliating retraction of his insistence that he’d won the election on its first round, simply confirmed that the failed U.S. presidential candidate from Massachusetts is a political dolt. But the announcement — a delicious propaganda moment for the Taliban, who insist that Karzai is an obedient servant of the U.S. — was not half as damaging as the political gambit it showcased: Forcing Karzai to accept a runoff election which even the U.S. knows is a farce — so much so, that Washington is now hard at work trying to press Karzai into a power sharing deal so as to avoid the very runoff they had insisted was a precondition for sending more troops......

Indeed, the song and dance over the runoff election is primarily aimed at a domestic audience. After all, President Obama looks set to dramatically escalate U.S. military involvement there. And so the folks back home need a good fairy tale to sustain that commitment. (Those being the folks on Capitol Hill, of course, who are also prone to fantasies that “training” hundreds of thousands of Afghans will turn them into an army ready to fight the Taliban. Curiously enough, the American electorate is far more skeptical of this war than its elected leaders are.)"

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