A sham vote for a sham war of necessity

The ultimate burden

If we had a draft — or merely the threat of a draft — we would not be in Iraq or Afghanistan. But we don’t have a draft so it’s safe for most of the nation to be mindless about waging war. Other people’s children are going to the slaughter.

Instead of winding down our involvement in Afghanistan, we’re ratcheting it up. President Obama told the V.F.W. that fighting the war there is absolutely essential. “This is fundamental to the defense of our people,” he said.

Well, if this war, now approaching its ninth year, is so fundamental, we should all be pitching in. We shouldn’t be leaving the entire monumental burden to a tiny portion of the population, sending them into combat again, and again, and again, and again … [continued…]

Editor’s Comment — Obama’s solemn declaration that the Afghanistan is a “war of necessity” has provoked some debate on what exactly defines “necessity” when it comes to war. By far the simplest definition is to say that such a war necessitates the involvement of the majority of the adult population. No necessity, no draft.

Afghanistan’s sham vote

The dust had barely settled on the Afghan elections before the U.S. government, the United Nations and the European Union were hailing them as a success, commending voters for their heroism and election workers for their relative efficiency.

This would be laughable if it were not such a great shame. The elections were severely marred by violence and widespread fraud, and the results are unlikely to placate a population already frustrated by eight years of mismanagement and corruption.

The haste with which U.N. Special Representative Kai Eide held a press conference to say that Aug. 20 was “a good day for Afghanistan” merely served to underscore the central, if unappetizing, truth about the Afghan poll: It was never meant for the Afghans.

Instead, it was intended to convince voters in New York, London, Paris and Rome that their soldiers and their governments have not been wasting blood and treasure in their unfocused and ill-designed attempts to bring stability to a small, war-torn country in South Asia. [continued…]

Wide fraud is charged as Afghans tally votes

The preliminary results from Afghanistan’s election gave both President Hamid Karzai and his chief rival, Abdullah Abdullah, nearly 40 percent of the vote on Tuesday as accumulating charges of widespread fraud cast new doubts on the credibility of the election.

The returns announced were based on just 10 percent of ballots from a variety of provinces and seemed carefully balanced to keep emotions calm as election officials came under increasing pressure from all sides to demonstrate that the presidential election was fair.

But even as election officials announced the first glimpse of returns, presidential candidates presented a growing bank of evidence of vote rigging. Most of it appeared to favor President Karzai, and in some cases, to have taken place with the complicity of election or security officials.

What was presented included sheaves of ballots stamped and marked for one candidate, cell-phone video of poll workers and others marking off ballots and stuffing boxes in front of local police officers and security personnel, and votes said to have been thrown out of ballot boxes and discarded. [continued…]

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