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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Puppet elections

From the WSWS:
The Human Rights Watch briefing paper noted: "Remarkably, the [mission’s] report recommended that the OSCE [Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe] should avoid observing the election because it was likely that the monitoring process would uncover substantial flaws and ‘challenge public and international confidence in the process’." In other words, the problem was that the election process in Afghanistan was so tainted that the OSCE feared its attempts to whitewash the poll would be rapidly exposed.

US National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice had no doubt about the findings of the UN panel. She confidently predicted yesterday that "this election is going to be judged legitimate. I’m certain of it." Rice’s comments simply underscore the Bush administration’s contempt for democratic rights in Afghanistan, just as in Iraq and the US itself. As far as Washington is concerned, the purpose of the Afghan election is to legitimise the continuing US military occupation of the country and its handpicked puppet in Kabul, Karzai.

The poll has been timed to hand Bush a desperately needed “success” in the lead-up to the US presidential election. Keen to deflect attention from the deepening disaster in Iraq, Bush seized on the Afghan election, declaring: “Just three years ago, women were being executed in the sports stadium. Today they’re voting for a leader of a free country.”

It is absurd to describe Afghanistan as a “free country”. The nation remains under effective US occupation, with 20,000 US and allied troops and a NATO-led International Security Assistance Force of 7,000 troops based in Kabul. Over the last three years, US soldiers have roamed the country at will and openly flouted basic democratic rights, arbitrarily detaining and torturing thousands of Afghans. Under such conditions, it is impossible to hold any genuinely democratic election in Afghanistan.