Problems with the Afghanistan Elections
By Werner Pirker
[This commentary originally published in: junge Welt, October 11, 2004 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.jungewelt.de/2004/10-11/002.php.]
In the "civilized world", the first general elections in Afghanistan are used as an historical event. How free and democratic they were remains to be seen. The result of the polling regarded as "fairly democratic" by observers was known long before the votes were counted. 18 candidates challenged the governing candidates. This meant that Hamid Karsai, Washington's man in Kabul, did not need to fear any opposition candidates. A polarization - between supporters and opponents of foreign rule - was excluded from the start. The Karsai rivals could only thrown one another out of the race. That was the only meaning of their challenge.
This well-prepared farce was not staged without great irregularities. Washable ink enabled the friends of US democracy in Afghanistan to manipulate the election results according to the pleasure. Thus democracy arrived triumphantly in Hindukusch, Afghanistan.
The reaction of George W. Bush fighting for a second presidency was predictable. "In America, the election is moving closer and closer. Something marvelous is happening today in Afghanistan", he told his fans at an election campaign event in Minnesota. Bush did not attempt to deny irregularities in this marvelous election. "Technical problems also occur in elections in highly developed countries." What country did he have in mind? The high-tech leader of western democracy suffered certain technical difficulties with the power supply of its population and the objective ascertainment of the voters' will. Thus the polling of Afghans dominated by blatant manipulations served as mental preparation for the US presidential election at the beginning of November 2004. Explaining election fraud as the normal case is obviously part of the election campaign strategy of the Bush-men.
The Afghans fulfilled their election duty without having a serious choice. They showed US voters how the world is rearranged according to America's image. The strong leader is the election winner. This does not open up any favorable democratic perspectives for American voters. The level of civil democracy in the US is quickly approaching Afghan conditions. Afghan democracy is also approaching US conditions.