View Full Version : Afghanistan Votes

10-10-2004, 06:06 AM
In spite of DNC predictions of failure, elections went off yesterday in Afghanistan without violence. [ QUOTE ]
Afghanistan Votes
Sunday, October 10, 2004; Page B06

AFTER ENDURING Soviet occupation, civil war and rule by a medieval-minded Islamic militia, millions of Afghans lined up at polling stations yesterday for the first free election in their country's history. This was an extraordinary event, the more so because it happened in spite of concerted efforts by the Taliban militia and its al Qaeda allies to prevent it. Thanks in part to U.S., NATO and Afghan forces and in part to the remarkable determination of Afghan citizens to launch their democracy, the enemy campaign failed. The turnout percentage for the presidential vote may rival that of the U.S. presidential election.

Instead of terrorist attacks, a problem more typical of electoral democracies cropped up: Fifteen of the candidates running against the current president, Hamid Karzai, abruptly announced a boycott because of a mix-up at some polling stations about the type of ink used to mark voters' fingers. Their protest, which U.N. officials said would be considered, could cast a pall over the election's results. But as Mr. Karzai pointed out, his opponents' posturing didn't change the reality that millions of Afghans had braved harsh weather and the threat of violence to cast ballots for the first time.<hr /></blockquote> Here's the part the Liberal Democrats will just hate. [ QUOTE ]
...Yet it also would be foolish to discount the advances Afghanistan has made in the past three years. Not only has most of the country enjoyed relative peace during that time, but per capita incomes have doubled, millions of children -- including most girls -- have returned to school, and infant mortality and other health measures have improved. Kabul and other cities are booming, a national road network is under construction and 3 million refugees have returned home. Mr. Karzai recently ousted two of the most powerful warlords from their governmental positions, and about a quarter of the militia members around the country have been demobilized.

Not surprisingly, polls show that Mr. Karzai is supported by most Afghans -- and so is the United States. In a poll sponsored by the Asia Foundation earlier this year, U.S. troops received a favorable rating from 67 percent of the population. A more recent survey by an Afghan human rights coalition showed that 75 percent of voters said they felt free to choose any candidate in the elections, more than 90 percent said all women should vote and 85 percent believed the election will bring positive change to Afghanistan.

Opponents of the Bush administration both here and abroad often have been loath to acknowledge these positive facts. Sen. John F. Kerry frequently speaks of Afghanistan as if it were just another of Mr. Bush's foreign policy disasters. But Afghanistan's reconstruction should not be a partisan or diplomatic football. Instead U.S. and other Western leaders should be pointing out, to each other and to their publics, that nation-building there can work -- and that it is consequently worthwhile to continue committing troops and aid to the effort.<hr /></blockquote> http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A21282-2004Oct10.html

Some good news for a change. Of course, it didn't make the front page, but what do you expect from our "balanced" media.

10-11-2004, 04:46 PM
I find it interesting that your article is an editorial from the "liberally-biased" media. But to the point:

Personally I'm very glad that the Afghans had a successful election that went better than most expected. I'm glad Bush and NATO ousted the Taliban and wreaked havoc on Al Qaida - those were necessary and correct decisions. I'm relieved that the Afghans are (so far) buying into the idea of democracy.

But before we get too Pollyanish about it remember that that warlords control much of the country, that Doctors Without Borders and other aid groups had to leave because they were being killed, that Karzai could not campaign outside Kabul because he was nearly blown up every time he tried, and that the opium business (remember the "war on drugs") is once again being allowed to florish. Alarmingly, these drug profits may be going to fund more Al Qaeda "activities." These are legitimate issues that point to problems with this admin's planning for post-war security and control.

So there are successes and failures in Afghanistan. To expect a candidate challenging an incumbent to focus on the successful elements of the incumbent's policies is unrealistic. I don't think Bush spent a lot of time talking about the job creation or budget surpluses under Clinton when he running in 2000 either.

Ross ~ wondering whether conservatives who lambast Dems for "always being critical" and "never seeing the positive" have looked at their own posts about Clinton and Kerry and Edwards and their policies?