When Hamid met Sarah

2010. október 28. 16:12
Do we really want a war, and the lives of our soldiers, in either of their hands?

„Obviously, there are differences. Karzai and Palin probably don’t agree on mosques; Palin has never benefited from a stolen election or graft of the sort that’s rampant in Afghanistan; and there are windows in Afghanistan from which one really could once have seen the Soviet Union. But there are convergences of style and rhetoric. For example, both have tapped into legitimate grievances—the proliferation of private contractors for Karzai; the plight of the lower middle class for Palin—to avoid criticism and garner support, and, perhaps, more than that.

Karzai has been involved in some tense negotiations over his call for ban on private security firms operating in Afghanistan, including ones guarding development projects—those guarding embassies and military installations can remain—by mid-December. (Today, he agreed to a two-month extension.) There are too many private contractors in Afghanistan. A lot of Afghans undoubtedly agreed when Karzai talked angrily, in that same press conference, about deals cut in the corridors of Washington and the deaths of Afghan civilians. But it was a little rich coming from the man who relies on American soldiers and contractors to stay in power. Perhaps we should take the opportunity to make our apologies and leave.

Karzai, though, like Palin, is blithely capable of sustaining two contradictory thoughts at one time. (Indeed, bridge to nowhere might be a good name for our increased troop levels in Afghanistan.) Although Karzai talks about the Afghan Army stepping into the contractors’ role, that is still an Afghan Army that we help fund: Is the idea just that development firms should pay Karzai’s men rather than contractors? Given Karzai’s record, one wonders if this is as much about securing Afghan independence as it is about cutting out the middle men in a business deal.”

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