Last week President Obama gave a speech in Mexico where he repeatedly referenced Nobel Prize-winning Mexican writer Octavio Paz (1914-1998). Some conservatives are upset because this writer once wrote that the United States was “the protector of tyrants,” condemned “North American imperialism” and expressed sympathy with an anti-American regime.
I can understand people being upset with the President. Paz was clearly a bad choice for the President of the United States to be quoting. But it made me stop and think. As much as I hate to admit it – we do have had a history of propping up dictators and corrupt governments. Pre-Castro Cuba and Vietnam come to mind –and so does Afghanistan.
You’d think we’d have learned by now. But no, apparently not.
I do not understand how we can say that our goal is to give the Afghan people a stable democratic government while supporting and praising a man like Karzi. How can we tell the Afghans how much better their lives will be in a free democracy while doing everything we can to prop up a corrupt opportunist like that?
If Karzi and his government are left in control when we leave -it will fail (even if there were no Taliban). Anyone with an IQ over 70 can see that. But still, that’s what we are working for. That’s what we are spending billions and billions of dollars to achieve. That’s what we are asking our military to go into harm’s way to accomplish. It’s crazy. It’s shameful. We can and should do better.
My guess is that, after we have left, Karzi will continue for a while and if he lives long enough he'll strip the Afghan Treasury of as much as he can get away with –and go live a life of luxury in exile someplace in Europe, leaving Afghanistan pretty much back where it started.
What’s more, I think most of our political and military leaders see that coming too. So why do it? Why waste all those lives, all that money and all that blood, sweat and tears? It’s not too late to get rid of Karzi and straighten things out. But it does not look as though we have any interest in doing that.
But I’ll say this: It really takes a lot of gall for our politicians to tell us they need to raise our taxes and then turn around and spend our hard earned dollars like that.
-Okay, I’ll stop. I did not mean to rant – but really….
Live Long and Prosper... (no, not you Karzi...)