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Bush's view is naive; Afghanistan isn't Iraq

 

A REAL COALITION MEANS U.S. ISN'T SEEN AS AN OCCUPIER

By Daniel Sneider

 

 

The sight of millions of Afghans casting ballots for the first time in their history was heartening. After decades of civil war, foreign invasion and extremist rule, the prospect of a peaceful future for Afghanistan is a cause for hope.

 

President Bush eagerly seized on this as validation of his vision of implanting a model democracy in Iraq. That is not only wrong -- it is also dangerously naive.

 

It is wrong because Afghanistan departs from the script followed in Iraq on almost every key point.

 

And while the presidential vote was welcome, Afghan life is still dictated by powerful forces of ethnicity and tribal loyalty. To brush over that Afghan reality is dangerous. It encourages the United States and others to walk away prematurely from the difficult job of rebuilding that nation.

 

Afghanistan differs from Iraq in three key respects -- political legitimacy, the role of the United Nations, and international cooperation.

 

Unlike in Iraq, a sovereign Afghan government representing longstanding movements within the country formed almost immediately. The American and British air attacks on Afghanistan began in October 2001. The next month the forces of Afghanistan's Northern Alliance marched into Kabul and ousted the Taliban. In early December, representatives of the Afghan groups, including exiles, met in Bonn and reached a deal to form an interim government. It was sworn in by the end of the month.

 

The United Nations played a key role in overseeing the political process in Afghanistan, from hosting the Bonn meeting to organizing the elections that had just taken place. A recent poll by the Asia Foundation found that while the United States enjoys a favorable rating of 65 percent among Afghans, the United Nations rates even higher, at 84 percent.

 

Last, but not least, Afghanistan has been a true international effort. The number of countries contributing troops there is greater than in Iraq. A U.N.-authorized international security force was in place within a few months. At present, there are 9,000 peacekeepers in Afghanistan (about half the U.S. troop level), organized under the command of our NATO allies in Europe.

 

These elements -- legitimacy, a U.N. lead role and a true coalition -- mean that unlike in Iraq, the United States is not widely perceived as an occupier.

 

Even then, the road to democracy in Afghanistan is hardly smooth. The vote was postponed twice due to the lack of security, mainly caused by a revival of the Taliban. Parliamentary elections were put off until next March.

 

The presidential vote was somewhat marred by charges of fraud fed by the discovery that an indelible ink to mark those who had voted could be easily removed. And the poor security conditions meant that international monitors were small in number and not widely dispersed.

 

Traditional Afghan power structures -- village and tribal chiefs and religious leaders -- directed votes to the man of their choice. ``Any politician who wants you to believe that the Americans have brought Afghans the gift of democracy seriously underestimates the Afghan power of adaption,'' one Washington Post reporter wrote.

 

Choice seems to be largely dictated by ethnic loyalties. The leading presidential candidates were all clearly associated with their ethnic group.

 

``Afghanistan has never been a nation-state,'' Afghan human rights activist Habib Rahiab told me. ``Every person first considers themselves Pashtun, Hazara, Tajik, Uzbek and other ethnic groups. And then they consider themselves Afghans.''

 

President Hamid Karzai, the American-backed choice, moved openly in the last eight months to associate himself with fellow Pashtuns. The Tajiks, who formed the core of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, are increasingly restless.

 

Such tensions have led to civil war before, including after the ouster of the communists in the early 1990s. The fear of American military may keep things from going down that road. But the coming parliamentary vote is likely to reinforce ethnic alignments, while Karzai relies on an axis of warlords and fellow Pashtuns to rule.

 

This makes it imperative that the international community increase -- not draw down -- its commitment of peacekeepers and development aid to Afghanistan.

 

DANIEL SNEIDER is foreign affairs columnist for the Mercury News. His column appears on Sunday and Thursday. You can contact him at dsneider@mercurynews.com

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Guest mustefser
Afghanistan differs from Iraq in three key respects -- political legitimacy, the role of the United Nations, and international cooperation.

 

Agree that Afghanistan is different, that is why Bush went differently.!!

 

in Iraq, a sovereign Afghan government representing longstanding movements within the country formed almost immediately. The American and British air attacks on Afghanistan began in October 2001. The next month the forces of Afghanistan's Northern Alliance marched into Kabul and ousted the Taliban. In early December, representatives of the Afghan groups, including exiles, met in Bonn and reached a deal to form an interim government. It was sworn in by the end of the month.

 

Iraqi groups reached to agreement to form the interim government even before the invasion.

The United Nations played a key role in overseeing the political process in Afghanistan, from hosting the Bonn meeting to organizing the elections that had just taken place

 

The irony is that in the Afghan case, UN has no any resolution that allow the invasion, while in the Iraqi case, there are so many that could allow invasion.

 

After the war, in the Iraqi case, the UN played a key role in formulating the IGC through it's representative De Melo. That is why he was killed by the anti Iraq freedom terrorists.

 

Last, but not least, Afghanistan has been a true international effort. The number of countries contributing troops there is greater than in Iraq

 

There are 40 countries participated in Iraq war.. If France, Germany and Russia couldn't join for some politically driven factors, that would not make the war non international. President "democratic" Clinton, invaded Yougoslavia with much less international support and for interests that are much less "American".

 

 

Polls in Iraq, published today, showed that about 80% of Iraqis are with the ellections, no much more than 75% participation in Afghan last ellections.. When it comes to people freedom.. They are no different..

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Guest Guest

Any one that explain to me how the American ellections is working? Do people ellect the president or they ellect a representative ?

 

Thank you

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Guest hogan

When we vote for president, we vote within our states. The candidate who wins the most votes in a state gets to pick the state's electors. The candidate chooses people who support him to be electors and they vote for the candidate who chose them(except for a couple of times). Those electors vote in a meeting called the electoral college where they cast their votes and chose the president(but the outcome has been determined by the citizens' vote). The number of electoral votes each state has is equal to the number of senators and representatives that state has. Each state gets two senators and 435 representatives are divided amongst the states in proportion to their population. Each state gives a representative an area of the state to represent. The people in that area elect that representative. The whole state elects it's two senators.

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Guest Guest

Hogan,

Thanks a lot. That is very informative..

Just to confirm my understanding..

The electrolls have no thing to do with congress.. right?

 

One more question, who appoint/ellect Senitors?

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Guest hogan

You are correct. The electors only job is to vote in the electoral college when selected. This will happen on December 13, after the general election. They meet in their State to cast their vote. Then there job is done. The media will anounce the presidential winner before that date because the electoral college is just a formality. Only a few times in our history has an elector not voted for the candidate who won his state and selected him, and it has never changed the outcome.

 

To answer your question: Every state gets two Senators. All the voters in each state elect their Senators. Senators serve for six years and then run for re-election if they want to continue to serve. Representatives have to run for re-election every two years. The congress is made up of two houses. The Senate with 100 Senators (50 States * 2) and The House of Representatives with 435 Representatives.

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Guest Guest

Hogan,

That is so sophesticated..

I wonder why our "great" media is not telling us about it.. There is a lot that we in Iraq, might learn from the American democratic institusions

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Guest Guest_Tajer

http://www.sotaliraq.com/newiraq/article_2...10_20_0429.html

 

In Arabic .. Intersting article by Iraqi Dr. Aziz Alhaj.. talking about those Islamist and Arabs who are hopping the ellection of Kerry would make ZAmericans retreat from Iraq..

He thinks such thing would never happen and what had changed in Iraq will make it very difficult for any American president to return back to old days// There is one way for Iraq , is the way of democracy, the way that President G. W, Bush had implemented and have the honor of being the first American President that make it possible for a middel easterian country to emerge into real democracy..

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Guest Guest_tajer

http://www.elaph.com/Politics/2004/10/17892.htm

 

In Arabic.. Kerry refused to visit a mosque in Florida.. Congradulation to those "Islamic " groups who had said that they have promises from him.. If he ffraid even to visit your mosque ? you know the answer.. Very funny

 

على بعد 50 خطوة فقط من شقتي الصغيرة، كان المرشح الديموقراطي جون كيري يخطب ود السود في قلب إحدى كنائسهم في فورت لودر ديل(جنوب شرق فلوريدا) أمس، أئمة مساجد ومسلمين حاولوا جاهدين أن يمنحهم كيري دقائق معدودة ويزور أحد مساجدهم أسوة باليهود والمسيحيين لكن تذرع بازدحام أجندته، غادر كيري متوجهًا الى كنيسة اخرى بينما ترك المسلمين يندبون حظهم العاثر بعد أقل من 72 ساعة على اعلان المنظمات الاسلامية في أميركا دعمها المطلق لكيري على حساب بوش. في ذات السياق، سخر برنامج (ستاريدي نايت لايف)  من دعم المسلمين لكيري، حينما عرض الخبر في نشرته  الكوميدية، واتبعه بتعليق مقتضب  ومفتعل على لسان المرشح الديموقراطي: "شكرًا، لاأريد أصواتكم"، في اشارة الى رفض كيري دعم المسلمين وتأييدهم له. النكتة التي أذاعها البرنامج الساخر سرعان ماتحولت الى واقع لمسه المسلمون جليا عند زيارة كيري الى فورت لودر ديل من خلال عدم حرصه على مقابلة المسلمين وتوجيه الشكر لهم على ترشيحهم بينما يطوف المعابد والكنائس التي اودع فيها ابتسامات وشكر يتكاثران.

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Guest Guest_tajer

http://www.radiosawa.com/article_view.aspx?id=396063

 

In Arabic.. A poll by someone called " Aldulaimee" showed that 22% of participants were for Kerry against 16% for Bush..

The Poll showed that more than 60% of Kurds and Shia " 80% of Iraqis" are for Bush. While most Sunni Arab are for Kerry.

 

Simple math: How is this to be consistant? Any explanation? Is this poll carried on in Fallouja?

 

Note: Aldulaime name is a known respected sunni family from Ramadi/Falouja.. Don't know if this guy belong to!

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Guest Bostonian

Well, who knows what Kerry would have done. He has spoken out of both sides of his mouth for 30 years.

 

And he is a dishonorable, disgusting man. He served in Vietnam for 4 months during that war, and came home early, while the rest of his crew stayed and fought. And then he testified in front of the nation that the troops were all criminals and had committed unspeakable acts, routinely and as a matter of policy. He said this without evidence, and he never proved what he said. When the troops came home, protestors spat on them.

 

There were some very bad things that happened, but the criminals who did them were caught and went to jail.

 

Yet all the soldiers were tarred with the same brush.

 

When John Kerry spoke at a convention of Vietnam Vets, many of them sat in silence with their arms crossed. Two men stood up with their backs to him for the whole time.

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