So the President apparently has now rejected all four military options on Afghanistan. The reason? Corruption in the Afghan government. An NPR reporter in Kabul went to the local DMV and met with a frustrated taxi driver who had been trying to get a drivers license for 3 weeks. He said that he had just been told by them to provide documentation that was impossible to get, using an Afghan idiom “find the Black Keys” – the rough equivalent of a fools’ errand or “needle in a haystack.” If he paid 5000 afghanis – a month’s salary of $100 – he would get the drivers license delivered to his front door the next day.
The Obama Administration is now saying that something must be done about corruption in Afghanistan before it commits more troops, tying our commitment to its containment. Perhaps what the Afghans learn during the anti-corruption effort can be taught to the pols in Chicago – perhaps the most corrupt city in the USA (although Philadelphia comes a close second). Am I the only one finding irony in an administration with roots in Chicago complaining about corruption in one of the poorest nations on the planet?
I have questioned Obama’s commitment to the fight in Afghanistan from the beginning. I have yet to see him show that he has the stomach to lead the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Instead I see his administration looking for excuses to do nothing until they can justify pulling out and leaving the nation to be overrun by Mullah Omar, al-Zawahiri and their terror-plotting pals.
First the administration tried shifting the focus of the war on Pakistan; now its corruption. Both are red herrings meant to distract the American public from what the administration truly wants to do: retreat to the pre-2001 world of lobbing a few cruise missiles at tents in the desert after a few attacks on our embassies.
There is no way we can shift the war effort to Pakistan without flat-out invading it in violation of international law. Even the drone attacks which Biden is so fond of (and which I support as part of a comprehensive war strategy) have been called into question as illegal.
There is also no way that we can uproot corruption in a culture that has depended on it for thousands of years. Look at Chicago. We have yet to clean it up there, yet we expect a weak regime and unstable nation to accomplish it in short order. The Afghan people have been in essence told to “find the black keys” by an administration that is itself rooted in corruption.
A local policeman listened to the Kabul cab driver complaining then laughed and said that he didn’t get the license because the taxi driver doesn’t know how to drive. Having been in many 3rd world taxis including one which hit and injured a young boy on a dusty road outside of Kigoma Tanzania, I think it’s fair to question their driving skills. Perhaps that same policeman would laugh at all the hand-wringing in the White House and say that the President doesn’t believe in the war and never has.