Sunday, October 23, 2005

Remember Afghanistan?

With hurricane mania, the Miers and Roberts nominations, the Iraqi disaster, etc., not much ink has been spilled over events in Afghanistan.

You may recall that late last year with the inauguration of Hamid Karzai, hosannas were in the air. Neocon pundit Charles Krauthammer, to take one example, lauded the Christmas "miracle" taking place in Afghanistan. Krauthammer, Washington insider and foreign policy maven, wrote:

"Miracle begets yawn" has been the American reaction to the inauguration of Hamid Karzai as president of Afghanistan. Before our astonishing success in Afghanistan goes completely down the memory hole, let's recall some very recent history.

For almost a decade before 9/11, we did absolutely nothing about Afghanistan. A few cruise missiles hurled into empty tents, followed by expressions of satisfaction about the "message" we had sent. It was, in fact, a message of utter passivity and unseriousness.

Then comes our Pearl Harbor and the sleeping giant awakes. Within 100 days, al Qaeda is routed and the Taliban overthrown. Then the first election in Afghanistan's history. Now the inauguration of a deeply respected democrat who, upon being sworn in as legitimate president of his country, thanks America for its liberation.

This, in Afghanistan, just three years ago not just hostile but untouchable...

We should take a moment to celebrate a remarkable success that had long seemed so improbable.


But has the Afghan invasion, which was a necessary consequence of 9/11, proven successful? Bin-laden is still at large, and in the most recent election, we have the spectacle of a majority of newly elected Afghani parliamentarians with links to armed Mujahidin groups. Essentially, the new parliament is dominated by Islamic militants.

Let's face facts for a moment. Afghanistan will be governed as an Islamic state; however, such a fact does not necessarily imply outright hostility to the United States. On the other hand, there are some inconvenient facts about the democracy push that the Bushies and their neocon hirelings would rather neglect.

Democratism, as Pat Buchanan has written, is "a faith-based ideology that holds democracy to be the cure for mankind's ills, and its absence to be the principal cause of terror and war." The fact of the matter is that democracy in most Islamic states would prove disastrous. One need look no farther than the recent "successes" in the Middle East. Lebannon's election brought to the fore anti-American elements while slight democratic changes in Egypt and Saudi Arabia strengthened Islamic parties. It's time for someone in our national political dialogue to say the obvious--a policy of democratization will lead, as night follows day, to Islamist domination of Arab politics.