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Bush Is to Blame for Afghan Voting Problems

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Mary Shaw       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   No comments

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August 20 is presidential election day in Afghanistan. And if you think voter intimidation is a problem in some urban neighborhoods here in the U.S., you ain't seen nothin' like they're seeing in Afghanistan.

The Taliban are threatening the lives and limbs of anyone who might be brave enough to venture out to the polls. And insurgents have set up checkpoints on the roads to the voting locations. Voting today is risky business.

This is the same Afghanistan that George W. Bush had set out to "liberate". With the Taliban wielding so much power again today, things there are scarcely better now than they were before we invaded that country after 9/11.

Back when Bush invaded Afghanistan, I thought it was a reasonably justified war. After all, Osama bin Laden was supposedly living there, as a sheltered guest of the Taliban. Of course we had to get the guy who was responsible for the deadliest disaster to date on U.S. soil!

The problem is that we didn't.

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Sure, we took the Taliban out of power. But only for a little while.

Meantime, we got to the point where we had Osama cornered at Tora Bora. Good stuff. There he is! Reel him in, dead or alive!

The problem is that we didn't.

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We let him get away.

Because we took our eye off the ball. In fact, we moved a few courts over and started a whole new ball game. Because George W. Bush had an itchy trigger finger and an eye on Iraq, which had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. ("Oil, that is. Black gold. Texas tea.")

So Afghanistan dropped out of the headlines, while a sexier quagmire in Iraq occupied the media and the rest of Washington.

And so the Taliban regrouped. NGOs and other relief workers fled Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden remains at large. Afghanistan is now the greatest illicit opium producer in the world because farmers there have no other reliable source of revenue. And the prospect of true democracy in that country seems less likely than ever.

So I cannot help but think that throwing more U.S. troops at the situation now will only lead to more senseless American deaths, because it's like putting a Band-Aid on a cancer. It's too little, too late.

Better to cut our losses and let the international community clean up the mess that we created. It's too late to save face.

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But, of course, I'm outranked where this sort of thing is concerned.

Way to go, George W. This is your legacy. (Well, one of them.)


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Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views (more...)

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