Afghaniscam

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The
scene was touching, almost tear-jerking. As Donald Rumsfeld and
Dick Cheney looked on with Cheshire smiles, Hamid Karzai was sworn
in as the new President of Afghanistan. The coronation hall was
probably the nicest building in the country. Certainly it was the
cleanest. Karzai looked resplendent, as most rulers do on their
big day.

Democracy
has come to Afghanistan, or so we are told.

Certainly,
many Afghanistanis registered to vote, participated in the election
and even voted for Karzai. What was their choice? The occupation
forces had made it clear that the Taliban and its sympathizers were
banned from participation. So, in this newly established u2018democracy,'
the people of Afghanistan were already being told who they could
not elect.

Once
again, the policies of the Taliban were undoubtedly abhorrent to
many in Afghanistan, just as the policies of the Bush Administration
are abhorrent to at least 48 percent of the Americans who voted
on November 2nd. However, our democracy allows us to
vote for anyone we choose. If he or she is not on a ballot, we can
even write them in. There is no exclusion of anyone based upon their
political beliefs or past practices.

Imagine
another nation, invading and occupying us, then establishing elections
in which it is illegal to vote for the Republican Party. (Hmmmm!)
Democracy? I do not think so. The same infirmity plagues Iraq's
coming elections. The occupation forces have already banned Iraqis
from voting for the Baath Party and certain religious parties. Ah,
the sweet smell of democracy!

Occupation
authorities would argue that no Afghanistani would vote for the
Taliban. This raises two issues. If nobody would vote for them,
why not allow them on the ballot? Many probably would not vote for
them simply out of an acute awareness of what state their nation
is in. It was invaded, destroyed and occupied because the Taliban
ruled. While the nation remains occupied, and perhaps for some time
thereafter, it is unlikely that Afghanistan will forget that the
Taliban equates with invasion and occupation. This is the lesson
we intended to send, and one that does not take great study to master.
Likewise, the people of Afghanistan are not likely to anger their
heavily armed u2018guests' by snubbing Bush's personal choice for President.

The
presence of high officials from the occupation forces, merely reinforces
the obvious — that Karzai is a puppet, hand-picked to serve the
best interests of those who displaced the Taliban and placed him
on the throne. He continues to be protected by occupation forces
and does not wander far from the comfortable confines of Kabul.

Is
Karzai the people's choice?

Was
Najibullah the people's choice in Afghanistan or Russia's? Dubcek
was the choice of the people of Czechoslovakia until Russian tanks
entered in 1968 to u2018liberate' the Czech people from his rule. Mosadeq
was the choice of the Iranians, but America knew better and placed
the Shah in his stead.

It
is a long and established tradition – democracy according to the
conquerors, not the conquered. So it goes in Afghanistan where,
despite the pomp and pageantry, nobody besides FOX is taking this
u2018election' seriously.

December
13, 2004

John
M. Peters [send him mail]
is a practicing attorney in Michigan.

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