ECC Will Count Fraudulent Ballots Against Candidates; Obama won’t Slash Troop Numbers

Another big explosion has rocked Kabul, killing several persons and wounding more.

I don’t know if Peter Galbraith still has a job at the United Nations after he went public with charges that the Electoral Complaints Commission, mainly appointed by the UN, was ignoring large-scale fraud in the August 20 presidential elections, fraud that mainly benefited incumbent Hamid Karzai. But he certainly sacrificed something. And it was not for naught.

On Wednesday, the ECC reversed itself on the way it will recount ballots suspected of being fraudulent. The recount will attempt to determine which candidates benefited most from fraud. If, as is widely suspected, it is Karzai, then his current estimate of 54% of the vote could be reduced below 50%, triggering a runoff election between him and his chief rival, Abdullah Abdullah. The ECC reversal almost certainly comes from the firestorm of criticism over its apparent willingness to ignore ballot fraud by the incumbent, provoked in important part by Galbraith’s speaking out.

Russia Today reports that President Obama has ruled out slashing the US troop contingent in Afghanistan. So now the question is whether he will yield to Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s request for 40,000 more troops.

Meanwhile, NATO is pressuring Russia to supply more equipment and training to Afghanistan army troops. That is one of those ironic, science-fictional sentences that non-fiction authors seldom get to pen.

The Cato Institute reviews the Afghanistan war and worries that once the original mission, to capture Usamah Bin Laden, failed, it morphed into an open-ended project of nation-building with no end in sight. The documentary argues that a huge Western military footprint in a fiercely independent tribal society will backfire. If the object is to wipe out al-Qaeda, a smaller military force would be more effective. The film also is critical of forcible poppy field eradication as a means of dealing with Afghanistan’s drug problems (though to be fair, the US has abandoned that strategy).

Russia Today also asks what would happen if US troops pulled out of Afghanistan and talks with Cato:

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7 Responses

  1. It's just as science fictional for me to see Russia Today reporting from Washington on America's troubles in Afghanistan. And in such excellent English, and top quality production standards.

  2. I watch RT almost daily and find their interviews and reports rather refreshing.
    But one must always keep in mind their history in Afghanistan and the middle east.
    South Ossetia (sp?)and the conflict with Georgia is frequently mentioned, from their POV of course.

  3. Professor Cole –

    One of the most valuable resources of your website is the ability to access and accurately translate into English press releases, web postings, and other reported newsworthy utterances concerning issues involving America and the Muslim world.

    Reuters has been reporting on a web site posting attributable to the Afghan Taliban marking the eighth anniversary of the US invasion. See Just Foreign Policy 10/8/09, Common Dreams 10/7/09, byline Salim Salihuddin.

    Twice in the text of the same Reuters report, it is asserted that the October 7, 2001 US attack was in response to Mullah Omar's "refusal to hand over Al Qaeda leaders" being harbored on Afghan soil. This is less than a half truth (to put it mildly), not unlike the repeated claims of Bush, Cheney, and other Bush era White House officials who kept repeating the canard that the 2002 US invasion of Iraq was directly precipitated by Saddam Hussein's stubborn refusal to let UN weapons inspectors do their work.

    I have been unable to get a link to the actual text of the Taliban website posting that generated this Reuters news article with its prominent, highly suspect revisionist history. If you have the ability to locate and properly translate the actual Taliban website posting, this would be a valuable public educational service.

    I personally recall how momentarily elated I was in early October, 2001, when Mullah Omar offered to withdraw traditional Muslim hospitality from Osama bin Laden and Zwahiri and place them into safe custody of a "neutral Muslim state" for potential trial for their alleged roles in the 9/11 attacks. This offer was instantly rejected by the Bushies, because Uncle Sam was not going to get involved in lengthy negotiations with a radical jihadist regime that had a history of harboring terrorists. Instead, a million dollar bounty was placed on Mullah Omar's head, and the B 52's started warming up on Diego Garcia.

    So much for exhausting all diplomatic options before letting slip the dogs of war. In any event, I find it highly suspect that eight years later (as the Reuters report emphasizes) the Taliban are now supposedly somehow "admitting" that Mullah Omar refused to turn over Al Qaeda leaders acknowledged to be on Afghan soil, when the public record reflects the exact opposite transpired.

    Thank you. Keep up the good works.

    Bill from Saginaw

  4. There are other critics who maintain that the hunt for bin Laden was never really the reason for the presence of US and NATO troops, that this is all part of the continuing "Great Game" of controlling the region, controlling energy flows, and encircling Russia and/or China. If so, it would be a difficult sell to the voting public back home, and the bin Laden/terrorist angle a more acceptable spin. Personally, I am in no position to know with any certainty what is really going on, but my acceptance of the "hunt for bin Laden" storyline runs aground with the Tora Bora debacle of December 2001. If it was a serious manhunt, the notion of his just slipping away while US forces backed off because there was snow on the ground is completely inexplicable and unbelievable.

  5. While most of us have been seduced by our own "Af-Pak" rhetoric, to the exclusion of all else ~ Lara Logan reports that IRAN (as it did in eastern IRAQ) is establishing a de facto Zone d'Occupation Iranienne in western Afghanistan, centered on the surprisingly flourishing Afghan city of Herat. When viewed in this manner it is now evident that the growing of Iran's real borders IRAQ <= westward and eastward => AFGHANISTAN is without doubt the greatest single unintended consequence of NATO-America's tragi-comic "military occupations" = ‘Global War On Terror’ mechanisms, by which we sacrifice blood and treasure Over There for the illusion of not sacrificing blood and treasure, Over Here.

  6. Bill from Saginaw:

    "personally recall how momentarily elated I was in early October, 2001, when Mullah Omar offered to withdraw traditional Muslim hospitality from Osama bin Laden and Zwahiri and place them into safe custody of a "neutral Muslim state" for potential trial for their alleged roles in the 9/11 attacks."

    There is a NYT article saying something along those lines, to quote in part:

    The only hint of flexibility, one the United States has already rejected as a play for time, came in his demand that Washington lay before the Taliban evidence of Mr. bin Laden's involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks. ''If the Americans provide evidence, we will cooperate with them, but they do not provide evidence,'' he said.

    As formulated earlier by Mullah Omar, the demand for evidence was attached to a suggestion that Mr. bin Laden be handed over for trial before an Islamic court in another Muslim country.

    Mr. Shaheen, the deputy ambassador, took up the demand for the United States to prove its case against Mr. bin Laden, a theme that has been widely echoed across the Muslim world.

    'In America, if I think you are a terrorist, is it properly justified that you should be punished without evidence?'' he asked. ''This is an international principle. If you use the principle, why do you not apply it to Afghanistan?'

    From :

    link to

  7. Anonymous –

    Thanks for referencing back to the NY Times version of the US/Afghan/Pakistani diplomatic posturing that was taking place at this critical moment in history.

    "The only hint of flexibility, one the United States has already rejected as a play for time, came in [Mullah Omar's] demand that Washington lay before the Taliban evidence of Mr. Bin Laden's involvement in the 9/11 attacks."

    Please note how in the editorial judgment of America's newspaper of record, Mullah Omar was making "demands", while only "hinting" that bin Laden might be surrendered into custody of a neutral Muslim state, a "play for time…. already rejected by the United States."

    Hells bells. The mugshots, personal biographies, preparatory movements, and modus operandi of the alleged 9/11 highjackers was published on the front page of the New York Times in elaborate detail within 48 hours of the event, while the rubble of the World Trade Center was still smoldering. All of that reporting, later embraced by the 911 Commission as the official narrative, was fed to the US media by impeccably reliable intelligence officials.

    Why didn't Colin Powell simply send Mullah Omar the articles from the Times and the Washington Post, along with a list of neutral Muslim states willing to hold bin Laden, Zwahiri, and friends while the choice of law and trial forum issues got sorted out?

    Why the urgent rush to start dropping bombs?

    Why slap a "Wanted Dead or Alive" label on the one man who had the ability, and apparent willingness, to deliver up for trial the purported mastermind of the most dramatic mass murder in American history?

    Eight years have now passed. In retrospect, even if it was to some degree a "play for time" to delay the onset of war or avoid it altogether, this was a huge opportunity missed – a deliberate policy decision by the Bushies rivaled only by the Axis of Evil speech for its arrogant, reckless and bloodthirsty stupidity.

    I fail to see how it can be claimed with a straight face today that Afghanistan got invaded in 2001 because Mullah Omar refused to stop harboring Al Qaeda leaders. Yet that was a prominent, repeated part of the spin in this week's news cycle, according to Reuters and the mainstream stateside media.

    How does bullshit like this get passed on to the public as fact?

    Bill from Saginaw

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