Karzai’s New Low


by Ralph Peters [author, novelist]

Our government continues to insist that imminent magic will make President Hamid Karzai reform and make his Afghan government perform.

Ain’t gonna happen. The better diplomats and generals know it. But they continue to play along — because we don’t have Plan B and never did.

We’re married to an abusive spouse and keep going back for more. We give Karzai lavish presents (an entire country), but he just keeps demanding more — while cheating on us.

President George W. Bush tried to be pals. Didn’t work. President Obama tried charm. Didn’t work. Last week in Kabul, Obama finally gave Karzai a shape-up lecture. Didn’t work.

As soon as Obama went wheels-up, Karzai delivered a speech damning Western — meaning US — interference. A thousand dead Americans and billions of dollars poured into a cesspool? That’s just meddling to Karzai.

Mortified, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton jumped on the line to Kabul. The conversation boiled down to this:

Hillary: “How could you? After you promised.

Hamid: “I didn’t mean you, sweetheart. I love you.”

Hillary: “Oh. OK — but don’t do it again.”

The next day, Karzai damned us in public a second time. But he’s still cashing the checks. (We shoulda got a prenup.)

In Marjah, our Marines did a super job eliminating active resistance. Now they face paralyzing passive resistance, thanks to the corrupt Karzai government’s unpopularity.

Once the Marines took Marjah — a collection of towns and villages — the Afghan government was supposed to “step up” and deliver order and aid. But the handful of Afghan officials who’ve arrived are unwelcome, frightened and hiding behind high walls. What’s being done is still being done by frustrated Americans.

The city of Kandahar (population 350,000) is next on our to-do list. We’re supposed to drive out the Taliban (with minimal bloodshed, thanks) so the Afghan government can step up to an even greater challenge.

Ain’t gonna happen.

The locals aren’t willing to stand with Karzai’s gang of thieves against the Taliban — or their relatives.

Our prissy counterinsurgency doctrine is wildly out of place in Afghanistan: It assumes a popular government exists that cares about its citizens. In Kandahar, we’ve got Karzai’s hated opium-king brother in the governor’s chair.

Our expectations of Karzai were unrealistic from the start. We wanted him to unify Afghanistan — but failed to ask ourselves why no one else had been able to unify the country over the last quarter-century.

Karzai talked a great game. But his sweet nothings really were nothings. Far from a unifying figure, he became a symbol of a foreign occupation.

His recent public abuse of us is aimed at regaining street cred with the locals. And that ain’t gonna happen, either.

If Karzai should be popular anywhere, it’s Kandahar. Born into an illustrious family in the nearby village of Karz, he’s a leader of the influential Pashtun Popazai tribe. He worked with the anti-Soviet Mujaheddin in the 1980s, served as a deputy foreign minister in an ill-fated Kabul government in the early ’90s, then flirted with the Taliban before running like hell. He wasn’t an unknown quantity to Afghans.

But when we backed him, we didn’t know when to back off. We refused to recognize how xenophobic Afghan tribal culture remains. Aid programs would fix everything . . .

We didn’t have a clue. Our tens of billions in aid money merely enriched well-connected Afghans. The poor were left in the dirt, seething with envy.

Contrary to the nonsense of the left, Bush’s mistake wasn’t that he did too little in Afghanistan — but that, from 2002 onward, he did too much.

Now we’re doing much too much. To preserve the regime of an Afghan president whose betrayals grow more flagrant every week, we’re sending another 30,000 US troops.

Over the years, I’ve heard plenty of horror stories of women who fell for Middle Eastern men living in the West. The males seemed so considerate, promising the moon and the stars. But, after the marriage, on returning “home,” they reverted to the patterns of their own repressive culture.

Our problem with Hamid Karzai is that he’s Afghan. ExileStreet

NY Post / copyright 2010 NY Post

Ralph Peters’ latest book is “Endless War: Middle Eastern Islam vs. Western CivilizationHis most recent novel is “The War After Armageddon,” is on the street. His most most recent non-fiction book is “Looking For Trouble: Adventures in a Broken World.” He is Fox News’ strategic analyst.

Peters is a retired Army officer and the author of 19 books, as well as of hundreds of essays and articles, written both under his own name and as Owen Parry. He is a frequent columnist for the New York Post and other publications.

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