This is a guest note by former Senator Ernest F. “Fritz” Hollings (D-SC) who served for 39 years in the United States Senate. He is the author of Making Government Work, which Steve Clemons recommends for anyone wanting to understand more about legislative structure and process. Many of his other essays can be found at Citizens for a Competitive America.
We learned after ten years and 58,000 dead in Vietnam that you can’t force feed democracy.
And now corrupt foreigners can’t force feed a corrupt democracy in Afghanistan. After eight years and 833 dead in Afghanistan, the United States mission boils down to that described in a New York Times editorial of November 3rd, entitled “President Karzai’s Second Term:”
(a) Mr. Karzai must prove that after “seven years of mismanagement and corruption … he is deserving of [his people’s] trust.”
(b) Mr. Karzai “must appoint a new group of ministers and provincial governors who are committed to rebuilding their country, not enriching themselves.”
(c) “The Interior Ministry, which oversees the corruption-plagued Afghan National Police, must be reformed.”
(d) “The agriculture, energy and private development agencies all [get] better leadership.”
(e) The Afghan people need “to see their government working to protect them and improve their lives….”
(f) Mr. Karzai must “reach out to members of the opposition, choosing competent technocrats for senior jobs.”
(g) Mr. Karzai must “break ties with his most unsavory cronies.”
(h) Mr. Karzai must demand that Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostrum “stand trial for his crimes.”
(i) Mr. Karzai finally cuts “his ties with his brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, whom American officials say is a big player in the opium trade.”
(j) “Washington must also cut its ties with the younger Mr. Karzai … [who] received regular payments from the CIA for the past eight years.”
(k) As Mr. Karzai kills the Taliban, he must “work with the Americans to come up with a strategy to try to woo mid-level Taliban leaders in from the cold.”
(l) Mr. Karzai and the U. S. “need to quickly develop a plan to accelerate training of the Afghan security forces.”
We can’t ask GIs to lose their arms and legs, even life itself, for this mission.
— Fritz Hollings, former United States Senator from South Carolina