Afghanistan and the Sham of Democracy Promotion, by James Bovard

American promotes democracy like those little reminders in beer ads to “Drink Responsibly” promote temperance. From James Bovard at jimbovard.com:

Americans finally recognize the military lies that pervaded the success claims of the 20-year war in Afghanistan.  But democracy promotion was an even bigger sham. Afghanistan was Exhibit A for the triumphal crusade to spread freedom and democracy.

After the U.S. invasion in 2001, the U.S. government spent more than $600 million to support elections and democratic procedures in Afghanistan (part of the $143 billion the U.S. spent there for relief and reconstruction). Washington bragging points were always more important than Afghan preferences. “In 2002 and 2003, when Afghan tribal councils gathered to write a new constitution, the U.S. government gave [bribes] to delegates who supported Washington’s preferred stance on human rights and women’s rights,” the Washington Post reported in 2019. President George W. Bush boasted in 2004: “Afghanistan has now got a constitution which talks about freedom of religion and talks about women’s rights…Democracy is flourishing.” Though Bush’s reelection campaign speeches were larded with such lines, women in many parts of Afghanistan continued to be oppressed even worse than characters in American country music songs. One international aid worker commented that during the Taliban era “if a woman went to market and showed an inch of flesh she would have been flogged—now she’s raped.”

Hamid Karzai, the slick operator who the Bush administration installed to rule Afghanistan after 9/11, won a rigged 2004 presidential election. Karzai approved a law that entitled a husband to starve his wife if she refused his sexual demands.

During his 2008 presidential campaign, Obama labeled the conflict in Afghanistan the “right war.” By the time Obama took office, the Taliban were vigorously reviving and Afghans were shunning the corrupt puppet regime the U.S. installed in 2002.

President Obama justified his 2009 troop surge in Afghanistan to bolster its democracy. When Obama spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in August 2009, he boasted that “our troops are helping to secure polling places for this week’s election so that Afghans can choose the future that they want.” In reality, Obama effectively sent American soldiers to serve as bodyguards for Karzai’s minions to steal the election. At first glance, Karzai won a narrow victory. But two weeks after the election, the New York Times reported that Karzai’s operatives set up as many as 800 fictitious polling sites “where no one voted but where hundreds of thousands of ballots were still recorded toward the president’s re-election.” In some Afghan provinces, pro-Karzai ballots outnumbered actual voters by tenfold. Peter Galbraith, a senior United Nations official in Afghanistan, was fired after he estimated that a third of Karzai’s votes were bogus. Galbraith wrote, “No amount of spin can obscure the fact that we spent upwards of $200 million on an election that has been a total fiasco” which “handed the Taliban its greatest strategic victory.”

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