Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Keeping faith with the best interests of the Afghan people

With 1/3 of Afghan ballots tossed out as probably fraudulent, it is, evidently, time to declare the Afghan presidential election a resounding success.

Hillary Clinton: “And after many weeks of counting ballots and much debate over the flaws in the vote, Afghans showed today that their processes work.” One of those processes (I’m pretty sure it’s somewhere in the Afghan constitution): begging, cajoling, blackmailing and threatening Karzai into accepting the necessity to steal a second round of elections. Indeed, “The leadership shown by the President, Dr. Abdullah and all of the other candidates...” If by leadership, you mean ordering their followers to stuff ballot boxes “...has strengthened Afghanistan and kept faith with the best interests of the Afghan people.” You’d almost believe that all the fraud existed in spite of the candidates.

Obama: “This is an important step forward in ensuring a credible process for the Afghan people which results in a government that reflects their will.” Like a mirror reflects a vampire. Or something. “President Karzai’s constructive actions [not defying the ruling of the election commission] established an important precedent for Afghanistan’s new democracy.” Some precedent. Some democracy.

Throughout the two-month-long post-election wrangling, we’ve been told, essentially, that if only we removed most of the fraudulent ballots, whatever remained would be a legitimate election. This is to willfully ignore the large number of people in areas without polling stations, or who were turned away from polling stations, or whose ballots were thrown out, or who didn’t bother participating in an obvious farce. Further, the process of weeding out fraudulent ballots involved discarding entire precincts whose results were unbelievable, disfranchising all their residents.

The run-off will now be done so quickly, in order to beat the Afghan winter, that the only question is whether the election monitors or the ballot-stuffers can organize faster.

(Update: the Guardian anatomizes the failed election.)

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