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Obama’s speech— what about the cancer of corruption in the Karzai government?

Robert Maier
Tuesday 1 December 2009

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In his Tuesday evening speech, Obama only lightly touched on the cancer of corruption in the Karzai government, which is broad, deep, cynical, arrogant, and desperately hated by the Afghan people. Too many Afghans say that the Taliban insurgency is fighting U.S. troops because they support, promote, and protect this corrupt Afghan government. To them, sending in 30,000 more troops is the exact opposite signal the U.S. should be sending.

Obama speaks of America’s role in making the world safe for Democracy, but democracy cannot take root when partnered with a distrusted, discredited and corrupt government. It cannot develop in a nation where most police are on the take, most government officials profit from drug trafficking and fraud, and the army leadership is trusted by no one—including the foot soldiers.

No amount of training by U.S. troops can inject pride, trust, and honesty in Afghan troops and law enforcement when these people know absolutely there is no pride, trust or honesty at the any level of their government.

It is very possible that Obama’s 18-month mission will be a fool’s errand. The Talibs can melt away in the hills, while the Afghan winter of discontent deepens under the heel of the drug dealers, embezzlers, skimmers, thieves, and self-promoters who will continue to rule, with the American government’s apparent blessing.

What will these 100,000 American soldiers will be doing in Afghanistan? We’ll surely see an increase in the number of sad headlines of IEDs and suicide bombers. Will we see a freer press? Will we see jailed journalists released from prison? Will the number of desperate Afghan refugees decrease? Will businesses continue to pay bribes to officials at every step of their venture? Will government ministers’ bank accounts continue to grow while Afghan women die in childbirth at a greater rate than the rest of the world? Will any new lights go on in Afghanistan, or any new hospitals be built? Will even one honest, competent judge be appointed?

Obama didn’t mention these things, or the many other similar conditions that are the real root cause of the desperation of Afghans. There are millions of disaffected and disillusioned Afghans, who, if the Karzai government remains unchanged, will happily join the Taliban for a few dollars a day—that is a sad and obvious truth.

It is sad that the U.S. is caught in the middle. It is sad that the greatest beneficiary of the thirty billion dollars a year the U.S. will spend on Afghanistan very little will address the real and tragic basic needs of the Afghan people. The military and their contractors and suppliers apparently will get it all. What a tragedy, considering that the need is so great both in the U.S., where tens of thousands of jobless people are being forced from their homes—facing empty food pantries, no health care, hope for an education, or a future for their children. Ironically, tens of thousands of Afghans face the same thing.

So is sending 30,000 foot soldiers the solution to both situations?

Would 30 billion dollars (and you can count on that number to at least triple) in military expenditure in the U.S. solve our economic problems? If not, why believe it will solve Afghanistan’s problems? Most Afghans I hear from see their government, not the Taliban, as the greatest obstacle to peace, justice, and democracy. So, with greatest respect, the question again is what will these 100,000 troops be doing to solve Afghanistan’s real problems? And what will they be doing to solve America’s real problems?


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Forum posts

  • Unfortunately any great purge of the afghan government’s less than honourable representatives will be viewed in America as a hostile act towards American value and paint whoever does it as a bloodthirsty bolshevik who eats babies for lunch and punches elderly women in the face for laughs.

    And NATO is simply a forum for people protected by the US from other people’s interests and for people who want to support the US - So we have to go along with what they want.

    The only hope for a proper Afghan government will be if the whole rotten structure decides to fix itself, or if the afghan people defy the shower of bullets and mortar fire they will inevitably encounter should they attempt to use their rights, both from their countrymen and their occupiers, which even to a blind optimist who has received a total frontal lobotomy would seem unrealistic.

    It is sad times for Afghanistan.

  • well , i thinks if obama a political personality he solve Afghanistan problem in better way then this , for afghan this is another invasion of 30 thousand armed gun man . and as all world know that afghan never well come any kind of military in there country . obama in this moment is not the obama who was before wining the presidency election . before he was a political figure in American parliament .. but in this moment he is look like a power full general who have plan to go for punishing karzai or may he replace him to same one who more work for American . also return of armed forces in 18 month to there bases in usa is a kind a open jock for afghan people . the job who all NATO and Canadian and American forces cant finish in 8 years , how you can warped in this period of time .

  • Why should I accept that "America... has no interest in occupying my country,Afghanistan?"

    The first thing I see when I enter Kabul Airport is a so called “American advisor” who stand in the same place where a Russian man used to stand. Anyone in anywhere and at any time can be detained, killed or shot to death in my country. I can be stopped at checkpoints and have to wait for hours without any reason(s). My family, my friends and my villagers can be held in Bagram and other prisons all around the country for years, and I am not allowed to even ask what happened to them. My country’s resources, air space and borders are NOT controlled by me. Could you tell me what occupation means?

    Also, Obama said, “The US is the only power which has never sought domination.”

    Are you kidding me??? What about hundreds of military bases we have all around the world? What about countless bloody coups we organize, support and fund to overthrow democratically elected governments? What about CIA running around for decades, trying to do ever possible shit to expand the sphere of US power structure???

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