Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a former consultant for UNOCAL oil company was installed by the US as the President of Afghanistan after our invasion and occupation of that country. Now he complains that US and NATO troops are invaders of Afghanistan and this is drawing a furious reaction from the Obama administration and the mainstream media. His outburst deserves a closer look at what led up to this furor in Afghanistan as Karzai turns on his US puppeteer.
Karzai denounced those in the Washington and the media who have criticized the corruption and incompetence of his regime with what could be a very true complaint, "They wanted to have a puppet government. They wanted a servant government."
The Afghan parliament voted to strip Karzai of his power he had asserted to appoint the members of the country's election commission, which will be in charge of parliamentary elections in the fall. The parliament's action was pressured by the US ambassador.
Karzai said, "In this situation there is a thin curtain between invasion and cooperation‑assistance." He predicted that if the people of Afghanistan thought that the Afghan government were mercenaries for the Western powers, the Taliban‑led insurgency "could become a national resistance." Karzai was quoted as saying "I might join the Taliban".
What Karzai warns of as a possible outcome for the US‑led war in Afghanistan has already largely come to pass, as a report in Sunday's New York Times makes clear. NY Times correspondent Richard A. Oppel, Jr., in a front‑page article from Marja, Afghanistan, wrote that after their much publicized offensive that had been described as successful, the US marines have no control in the region outside their own bases. Oppel also said the Taliban is resurgent, the collaborators with the US occupation are isolated and targeted for retaliation, and that much of the US‑funded reconstruction work has been shut down.
Oppel concluded: "In Marja, the Taliban are hardly a distinct militant group, and the Marines have collided with a Taliban identity so dominant that the movement appears more akin to the only political organization... with an influence that touches everyone. Even the Marines admit to being somewhat flummoxed."
"We've got to re‑evaluate our definition of the word ‘enemy,'" Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson, commander of the Marine expeditionary brigade in Helmand Province, told the Times. "Most people here identify themselves as Taliban."
Is Karzai revealing the underlying reason for the nine year old US war in Afghanistan, that we were told was in a response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks? Are we fighting to prop up a puppet regime that will serve US corporate interests in Central Asia-one of the largest suppliers of oil and gas to the world market.
Karzai, the amiable former business consultant and CIA "asset", was installed by Washington as Afghanistan's president. Remember when he was the honored guest at President Bush's State of the Union message to Congress, smiling and waving from the balcony in his regal Afghani robe? As the U.S. gets bogged down in a quagmire in Afghanistan, are we scape-goating the puppet for our problems?
Is the underlying reason for all the railing and blaming of Karzai in actuality a refrain of "Bad puppet! Bad puppet!"
The U.S. Congressional Research service just revealed it costs a staggering $1.3 million per annum to keep an American soldier in Afghanistan. This huge expense can't go on forever.
When the head of a government kept in place by US arms and dollars issues a public rebuke to his master it requires a closer look at why. Could it be the increasing animosity of the Afghan people to the occupation, with thousands of innocent people being killed by American bombs, rockets, commando raids and massacres, along with despair of Karzai, who feels increasingly marginalized as the nominal head of Afghanistan. Also Karzai has an agenda different from the US. Just like the policy of the U.S., Pakistan, the Taliban, as well as Karzai and every other interest involved, all realize that sometime, perhaps sooner than later, the US will have to leave-- due to the costs in lives and money and its effect on US public opinion.
Karzai's speech to election officials was just four days after the visit by Obama who had a confrontational meeting with Karzai. Published reports said that Obama berated Karzai over the corruption in his regime and the vote‑rigging in last year's presidential election. Perhaps Karzai's overtures to Iran and China were also raised.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called Karzai's comments "troubling" and "cause for real and genuine concern." Karzai's remarks were also called "preposterous" by a State Department official.
The rebuke from our puppet has the US media in a dither. A New York Daily News editorial was headlined "Cuckoo Karzai." Have 1,000 US soldiers and tens of thousands of Afghans died to keep a madman in power?
The New York Times, termed Karzai's criticism "delusional" and warned that his statement could have political repercussions in the United States, because "it undermines the fragile public support for President Obama's strategy" of pouring 30,000 more US troops into the Afghanistan war.
"Mr. Karzai is encouraging those who want the United States out of Afghanistan," the editorial concluded. "He risks boiling down a more complicated policy debate to the notion that American lives are being sacrificed simply to keep him in power. It's hard to think of a better way to doom Afghanistan's future, as well as his own." This has a sinister sound because almost 50 years ago another US puppet had a fatal problem with the US in 1963 when President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam was overthrown and murdered in a US‑backed military coup that set the stage for even deeper US military intervention in Southeast Asia. Diem faced similar criticism for corruption, incompetence and vote‑rigging.
Should Karzai as a successor US puppet to Diem, be concerned about Diem's fate since he also jerked on the strings of his US puppeteer?