Karzai's Not So Bad— By Afghan Standards

Blame NATO missteps, not corruption
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 10, 2009 1:23 AM CST
A defaced election poster of Afghan President Hamid Karzai is seen in Kabul, Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)
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(Newser) – Hamid Karzai's no saint but he's much better than Mullah Omar, civil war, or the murderous Soviet stooges that ruled Afghanistan for many years, writes Bret Stephens. It has become fashionable among "neo-neo-cons" who have suddenly discovered the virtues of good governance to slam Karzai's tainted administration, but history shows that it's the kind of government that "Afghans can reasonably expect," Stephens writes in the Wall Street Journal.

Blame for the worsening situation in Afghanistan shouldn't be laid at Karzai's door, when it was NATO that kept the Afghan army too small to take on the Taliban, and Pakistan that let the Taliban gain control in frontier provinces, Stephens notes. "Our failures in Afghanistan so far have mainly been our own, and they are ours to fix," he writes. "To blame Mr. Karzai is to point the finger at the wrong culprit in the pursuit of disastrous, dishonorable defeat."