There’s been a slew of interesting facts and commentary on the war over the past few days. Some of it has to do with the past, some the present (or near present with the upcoming November 7th elections) and some the future.
First was the unbelievably believable story in the NYT that the drug-dealing brother of Afghanistan’s president, is and has been on the CIA payroll. Why does this surprise anyone? I was talking it with Missy and after my recent rash of black-ops books, not only does it seem possible, but plausible that he is. Reading in books about the US flying cargo planes over to the Mid-East stuffed to the ceiling in cash that has been doled out to various warlords for their loyalty. Of course we have no real recordkeeping of how much was handed out, or to who, but those are just details. I had been reading about Karazai’s bro and the bad accounting on our end, when ProPublica dropped this gem. The first election was pretty much stolen by Karazai, and because of pressure from the U.S. there is the runoff a little over a week away. Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (a body of 8, with 7 Karazai appointees) apparently received tens of millions of aid from the United States to ensure a “fair” election, and you see how far that got us.
The NYT also ran an op-ed from the former UN official Peter Galbraith. As former United Nations’ Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan, Galbraith is no talking head. He is the former rep, because when he questioned the handling of the last elections -which has turned out to be a fair suspicion- he was asked to leave the country and removed from his position. Galbraith has some great insight as to the upcoming election.
The other worth reading was another op-ed in the NYT by Thomas Friedman. The Pulitzer Prize winning journalist has been hesitant to take a position on whether or not to pull out of Afghanistan. Until now.