Who Determines if the Afghanistan Election was a Success

If you ask the world body, NATO, IEC, or any other myriad of groups if the election in Afghanistan was a success, they would say NO, because of the low percentage of election turn-out (40%) and due to upwards of half-million ballots are being probed out of suspicion of fraud.

 

Up to 500,000 ballots cast in Afghanistan’s election could be quarantined and investigated over alleged irregularities

http://www.rte.ie/news/2009/0911/afghanistan.html

 

However if you heard the interview that CJ and I did with PJ Tobia on You Served Radio episode #54 on Sept. 3rd or the Bouhammer Roundtable Podcast that I published here on September 7th then you heard first hand from PJ and Scott Kesterson that the Afghan people consider the election a success. You have to realize that these are a people that have never had freedoms, and for most of them all they have known is death and war.

As was explained by both PJ and Scott, the Afghan people consider any democratic election a huge success, so the Afghans have a hard time understanding why so many non-Afghans consider this election a failure. The Afghan people are so glad to be able to vote, any election is considered an accomplishment.

To put the Afghan election in perspective, the US 2004 Presidential election only had a 56% voter turn-out. 56% with no threat of death, no threat of IEDs, no threat of being mutilated for casting a vote. So 40% turnout in a country with not even a fraction of the transportation or technology that our country has, and with all of those threats facing the voters, 40% sounds pretty good.

So the question is what is the definition of success and who determines it? Is it the US or is it the Afghans? Can we as a country truly tell another country how to run honest and fair elections after the last Presidential election we had? Who are we to tell another country that their election was not open, honest and fair after we had ACORN all across the county registering dead people and fake people, and groups like the Black Panthers using physical intimidation as voters entered the voting area.

Sounds kind of hypocritical if you ask me. I think in this case, we should defer to the Afghans on the quality of their election and let them deal with it. If we don’t start now, when will we? When will we finally start letting go of the bicycle so  they can ride on their own.

As any parent knows who has tried to teach a kid to ride a bike, there is a point that you have to let go and be prepared for them to fall and scrape their knees and hurt themselves.

Even though I cannot stand Karzai, and by leaving the election results as is means he may win, it is time for them to scrape their knees a little and learn lessons on their own

And then some more Violence on Election Day

This video clip was sent to me by the folks at Dvids. It is some good footage of 2/12 Infantry from the 4th BCT of the 4th ID trying to keep polling places secure on August 20th . This is part 2 of the footage. Part 1 is mostly them talking with ANP and ANP shooting from the back of their trucks. Nothing really exciting per se.

This 2nd part however show our boys full engaged, cross-talking and then the best part…calling in some 2000lb bombs on some enemy hilltop positions. As you will see in this footage, our troops are professional, calm and effectively communicating during the fight.

Another Example of Election Day Violence

I don’t care who you are, and some of you read this blog, but if you think we (the coalition) are terrible monsters because we may accidently hit the wrong Kulat or shoot at a vehicle that appears to be running a road block and the enemy is not doing this then you need to do us all a favor and quit stealing oxygen. Leave it for the rest of us with common sense.

The enemy is ruthless, heartless and uncaring. They kill at a whim and don’t care who they kill. The other day a person commented on my blog post titled The Difference between the US and the Taliban. She has tried to argue that we (the big Ugly Americans) whom fight and die to protect her ass are the bad boys on the Afghanistan block. That we are bullies and we need to get out of Afghanistan. She quotes ex-Australian military officer David Kilcullen’s testimony to Congress when he threw out some unsubstantiated number on the number of civilians killed (700) by unmanned drones and that we only killed 14 Al-Queda leaders.

Hmm, it seems to me that if this was the case the Human Rights groups all over the world would be jumping up and down screaming. The UN would be investigating, etc.,  etc. Kilcullen may be a smart guy, or at least Petreaus thinks so, but I think his numbers are Babulah (that is Pasto for bullshit). We have killed senior leader, after senior leader in the Taliban and the AQI from our drones in Pakistan. It isn’t our fault they surround themselves with innocent people or their family members. Shame on them, the blood is on their hands. If those Taliban leaders don’t want their families harmed, then they should not hang around them until they know we aren’t looking for them anymore.

To the point of this posting, well the point is I want to inform you of the following article that highlights another example of election day violence. Another example of the enemy indiscriminately killing innocent Afghans, another example of why we are there. The enemy we fight respects the Quran less than the National Association of Atheists (if there is such a group). I say this because if they did read and respect the Quran then they would not go about blowing up and killing innocent Afghans, especially children.

They were less than 200m from the Emergency Hospital. Police and medics were on the scene in seconds. By the time I’d taken stock and started to move again, the ambulance was already there. Without a stretcher, four men – most of them medics – lifted the limp body into an ambulance. He was wearing a beige shalwar kameez. His bicycle lay abandoned on the road. His sandals were strewn across the tarmac.

What was left of his head hung backwards, smearing blood over a plastic bag in the boot as they struggled to heave him in. The other brother was still wailing.

 

Read the whole article at http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/world/39Metres-away-I-see-a.5575531.jp

H/T to PJ Tobia for this article.

US Envoy to Afghanistan makes Karzai Cry

Ok, well maybe he didn’t make him cry. I kind of embellished that one a little bit, but hey it got your attention didn’t it? However it appears that Karzai was a little upset that Ambassador Holbrooke questioned Karzai’s tactics in his election and appears to have pushed Karzai on a run-off to validate the election and to prove there was no fraud.

It ticked Karzai off and I must say I can understand why. I mean who does the USA think they are? They only came in to the country, eliminated the Taliban as a ruling authority, helped put Karzai in power, have given the country their own election process, have given the people of Afghanistan a growing but present Army and Police Force, have given the people a court system and have built more roads, wells, schools and other infrastructure pieces than anyone has ever done. Who are they (the USA) to stick their foreign noses in the business of Afghanistan. What concern is it of theirs?

Hmm, that sounds like a spoiled teenager that wants to know why his/her parents care if he/she attends high school classes or skips, smokes drugs or drinks, or wants to quit school and run off to be a roadie.

Maybe because like the parent that has invested many years, a lot of time and money, a lot of love and caring into the up-bringing of that teenager…WE the USA care about all the time, money, blood, sweat and sons and daughters we have invested into establishing a democracy and a government.

We want it to grow and be successful and not be a cesspool of corruption, greed and unethical behavior. You know; don’t do as we do, do as we say.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/sparks-fly-as-us-puts-awkward-questions-to-karzai-1776784.html

PJ Tobia Video of Afghan Election Day Violence

Check out this great video that PJ has put up of some of the violence he witnessed in Kabul on election day (August 20th). I wrote about his actions on that day as he and other reporters were defying a ban by the Afghanistan Government to not report on any violence. You can read that posting HERE.

The video below is the visual representation of that day and what they saw and then what they went through.

To read more about this video, check out PJ’s posting about it at http://trueslant.com/pjtobia/2009/08/24/video-election-day-combat-in-kabul/

 

Delivering the Ballots

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Villagers from the remote town of Azra look on as Afghan national police unload election material from an Afghan national army air corps Mi-17, Aug. 17. During a two-day period, ANAAC pilots and U.S. Air Force mentors from the 438th Air Expeditionary Advisor Group delivered approximately 10,030 kilograms of ballots, polling kits, tables and chairs to remote Afghan locations in support of the elections.

An Effective Strategy, by the Taliban

So the other day the Taliban conveniently left out a code of conduct in some houses that our forces raided saying how they need to be more careful not to hurt or kill civilians.

Suicide attacks should be used only at high and important targets … Utmost efforts should be made to avoid civilian casualties…

 

Thankfully most outside of Afghanistan realize this is just a ploy on the ill-informed people of Afghanistan. I hope most inside Afghanistan don’t believe it because they are still operating under the normal modus operandi and there are several who are calling them out, like right here.

The booklet makes clear that Taliban forces should “try their best to avoid killing local people,” he noted. “Well, let me tell you that the reality on the ground doesn’t reflect this at all,” Tremblay said, noting that insurgents have killed 450 innocent Afghans and injured more than 1,000 others since January.

And in fact some in the supposed “Taliban” organization are going as far as saying that they will not disrupt the elections and will allow them to happen, but everyone is throwing the BS flag on this one.

Including some of their own people who have come out and stated they are focusing on the elections and how to disrupt them.

The quote below comes from the story here.

The Taliban urged Afghans on Thursday to stay away from the Aug. 20 elections, threatening to block the roads to polling stations and dismissing the balloting as an "American process."

Just this evening we are seeing reports of five rockets slamming into downtown Kabul at daybreak. Does that sound like a code of conduct to protect innocent civilians? No, because protecting innocent civilians goes into the face of what they are trying to accomplish. What the Taliban wants to do is to scare the civilian populous to think that the Afghanistan government and all of the coalition members combined cannot provide them safety and security. The Taliban wants to make the people think there is no safety, that having coalition members all over the place does no good, and that the Government has no control.

It is in their best interest to kill as many innocents as they can. It is also in their best interest to do as much as they can between now and August 20th to make the people of Afghanistan as afraid as possible from going to the polls. The Taliban are bullies, and the Afghan people are the pencil-necked little weakling that always gets shaken down for lunch money. If the weakling sees the bully on the sidewalk and if he knows that if he goes outside he will get beat up, then he won’t go outside.

If the Afghan people think there are IEDs, bombs and be-headings waiting for them if they try to vote, then they won’t vote. Overall it is a child-like mentality, but a very effective strategy.

It is one that we need to counter, but I am not sure how that can be done in time. Even if all the forces were focusing on getting ready for the elections and helping to protect the people, I am not sure we have enough troops there to do it. But to be honest, not all the forces are focusing on that. A large contingent of Marines, British and Afghan forces are engaged in some major battles and operations in the south. In the East most, if not all, coalition forces are looking for a soldier that is in the enemy’s custody. Yes, even though you have heard nothing else on the MSM about it lately, Bowe Bergdahl is still missing and still in the enemy’s control.

Karzai Machine is cranking up

Expect to keep hearing the Hamid Karzai spin train every day from now until August 20th. It will get louder and louder as he makes these statements about talks with the Taliban and how he wants rules put on Coalition forces. Under the past administration he would be ignored as he always has, but under this Administration there is no telling what will happen.

He has a history of shooting off his mouth for his own people and of course the media jumps all over it. He is like a guy in a fight that is held back by his friends and as long as his friends are holding him back he talks big smack. He knows that he has no pull and that he can make whatever “demands” he wants but they will fall on deaf ears, except for his own people. The Afghan people have very limited access to outside media outlets so they believe what they hear in country.

Karzai needs to stay quiet, quit talking smack and as I have said in the past, quit being a tool.

 

http://www.examiner.com/a-2138762~Karzai__Afghans_want_rules_for_troops_changed.html?cid=rss-World