Let's hear it for that "freedom and democracy" in good old neglected Afghanistan, where President Bush insists is miraculous in that "10 million people, nearly half of them women, registered to vote". Well, all 15 of the candidates opposing interim American-backed-semi-puppet and fulltime shakedown artist Hamed Karzai announced that they are boycotting the "election" in protest of a VERY low tech way that Karzai and his crew(presumably-- no-- fuck that-- ALMOST CERTAINLY-- in conjunction with the Bush Administration) chose to rig this "election". Really too bad: violence had broken out with the Taliban hoping to undermine the election, and lots of people waiting in line for hours, etc., etc.
Anyway-- to prevent fraud, a rather brilliant method was concocted (in this poor, wartorn, frequently illiterate nation) to prevent multiple voting (those "10 million registered voters" are believed to represent a significantly lower number of actual breathing human beings): indelible ink would be stamped on the hands of exiting voters, preventing return for a second bite of the ballot apple. In a low tech election, the ballots will be on paper, with (I believe) a thumbprint, or some other ink mark placed on the ballot next to the presidential candidate selected. This ink, intended simply for the ballots, was not "indelible".
What could be easier than (1) denying Black people the right to vote, (2) rigging voting machines or (3) cutting off counting of votes at some arbitrary time when your man is ahead...? Of course! SWITCH THE INK! Why, letting YOUR people vote over and over again, until you get it right, simply by WASHING THEIR HANDS!
Of course, if Karzai does not score more than 50%, he would have to face a run-off. With 15 of 15 opposition candidates boycotting, he may not need to. Which plays perfectly into the hands of the President, who, since he himself came to office on a (cough, cough) controversial election, can now stump (to loyal supporters, anyway) on the virtues of freedom and democracy in largely warlord-controlled, opium dependent Afghanistan. (Kabul, under international military protection, is doing quite well thank you. The President himself personally vetoed the idea of security forces operating outside of Kabul... largely to free up resources for his little "I'll show Daddy whose is bigger" exercise over in Iraq.)
Well, this is excellent news indeed for the upcoming "election" in Iraq. The precedent of our chosen strongman being "legitimated" in an "election" that is neither free nor fair will be a welcome one in ramming Mr. Allawi through in Iraq, even as (presumably) most of Iraq will be too violent to actually set up polls in.
Perhaps the President will laud the Karzai "election" in next Wednesday's "debate". (BTW, I thought Kerry killed Friday night, with several knock downs; Bush did get some gloves on Kerry, albeit in kidney punches and below the belt shots, but at least he showed up.) I suppose if Senator Kerry points out the flaws in the Afghan election, he will be undermining another important ally. (I can almost write the script now).
Well, I would describe the Afghan election going to hell in a handbasket as "disappointing but not surprising". There's too much of that these days. Far too much. And it all emanates from one particular office in an old white building.
"The boycott was a blow to the international community, which spent almost $200 million staging the vote."
They spent $200 million -- in a land that makes most Third World countries look ultra-modern -- for this election and nobody thought to use laundry markers to ink thumbs? 'Cause that stuff doesn't wash away -- you have to wait for your epidermis to replace itself....
Posted by Miss Authoritiva at October 10, 2004 1:16 AM
The problem with your analysis is that it was the UN, not the US, that managed this process and the UN, not the US, that screwed up with the ink.
Posted by rkb at October 10, 2004 10:13 AM
The United Nations is nothing more than the agent of its member states (something conveniently forgotten by Republicans who love to bash it, and Democrats who love to laud it).
Contrary to the fantasies of both parties, the most important member of the United Nations is not FRANCE, it is the United States of America-- contributors of 25% of its budget, etc., etc.
In this case, MAYBE the ink was a "screw up". And MAYBE George W. Bush isn't a war criminal.
Posted by the talking dog at October 10, 2004 11:19 AM
Happy Birthday to Hassan Bar Sinister. I like him. He very funny, and he scare even me. Ha Ha Ha!!
Posted by kim jong-illin at October 10, 2004 12:07 PM
Thank you, KJ. By the way, I'm in Fahrenheit 911 in a scene where Bush I is visiting Saudi Arabia. Look for my secret hand gesture.
Posted by Hassan Bar Sinister at October 10, 2004 9:17 PM