December 11th, 2009
08:59 AM ET

Can democracy work in Afghanistan?

Kabul, Afghanistan - In Kabul, the mayor has been convicted of corruption, but continues to work as the city leader.  Abdul Ahad Sahebi was sentenced to four years in prison after being judged guilty of awarding a city construction contract without bidding.  Sahebi says there's no proof.  "It is baseless, without any evidence. without any foundation," he says.

The deputy attorney general Fazil Ahmad Faqeer Yar disagrees. "The court has ordered his dismissal," he says. "So everything he is doing now is illegal."

The matter goes to the heart of NATO's new strategy in Afghanistan - additional troops can bring short-term security but the U.S. says Afghanistan's government needs to crack down on rampant corruption as well.

On paper the Afghan government has executive, legislative and judicial branches, with a political model that resembles those of other democratic states. The country has a constitution that provides equality to all. But even as Hamid Karzai was sworn in for a second term as president in November following a fraud-marred election, the international community was pressuring the leader for reform.

The government is plagued with allegations of corruption, cronyism and warlords – with some questioning whether democracy can ever work in Afghanistan.

But others disagree. "In the 262 years of our modern history we have never been governed. We have been ruled - or misruled," says Afghan parliamentarian Daoud Sultanzoy. "And for the Western experts, who are so-called Afghan experts, to say that Afghans do not like governance it's a very easy way out."

Sultanzoy said that if Afghans are given good governance, they would come in several fold and embrace that government and its authorities. WATCH: Can Afghanistan win its people?
 
"It's not the strength of the Taliban, it's the weakness of this government that has driven the people away from the government," he said.
 
Sultanzoy says that the problem stems from the top down, and that it is Karzai's responsibility to stamp out the bad seeds.

"The rule of law has to start from the president in exercising it on its own staff, exercising it on its own cabinet and then going into mid and lower level government, in the capital and the provinces," he said. "Then at the same time, go into the private sector."

His advice to Karzai is to bring some of the corrupt government officials to justice and punish them to the extent of the law.
 
"This will tell the people of Afghanistan that we're serious about governance, we're serious of punishing the people who have sucked the blood out from the people of Afghanistan," Sultanzoy said.
 
Today's Afghan government is a mix of former NGO employees, including the president himself, and remnants of the Communist and Mujahedeen era.
 
Corruption, warlords and insecurity are just some of the factors that have been pushing Afghans away from their government and into the arms of the insurgency, some say. 
 
Karzai vowed once again during his inauguration speech to tackle corruption within his own government.
 
"The corruption is a very dangerous enemy of the state, and we would like to take this matter quite seriously," Karzai said.

But Karzai himself has been criticized for ignoring corruption and surrounding himself with the criminals he should be punishing – allegations he rebuffs.

And although the international community has been in Afghanistan for nearly a decade now, many agree the real work did not start until just recently.
 
"The first five years that the international community was in Afghanistan, I think it's fair to say that the level of resources and commitment to governance and development was much less than what it has been in the last three years," Canadian Ambassador to Afghanistan William Crosbie said.
 
Crosbie admits that some failures of the Afghan government were also failures by its international partners.
 
"We too often turned to power brokers and warlords to fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda and turned a blind eye to perhaps if those individuals were inappropriately using government offices or using their power," he said. 

Both the international community and the Karzai government will have to make difficult choices when those kinds of individuals will no longer be relied upon, he added.
 
No war has ever been won in Afghanistan without the support of the Afghan people.  This coming year may be the pivotal year in which the Afghans will decide which way to go.  That's when Obama's strategy announced last week will be implemented. The plan calls for 30,000 more U.S. troops in the next months to target the insurgency and also train additional Afghan security forces.

But lately, some Afghans are drifting towards the Taliban, claiming that the group provides them with law and order and protecting them from the criminal elements within the Afghan authorities.

One farmer in the Helmand province earlier this year explained. Although he was seeing success at his farm, he has had trouble with the government. He says officials tell him that some of the land belongs to them but he disagrees. Because of that, he said, he is forced to go to the Taliban.

To combat charges like this, Karzai created a new anti-corruption task force. Their first high-profile case? The mayor of Kabul.

The mayor Sahebi refutes his conviction with documents he says prove that Afghanistan's attorney general was trying to get him to illegally evict people from land plots in the city. When Sahebi refused, he says, he was charged on what he says are totally baseless claims.

So for now, the question of corruption is still top of mind for many Afghans and the international community, while a mayor convicted of corruption remains in office accusing the country's anti-corruption task force of being corrupt.

soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. Gedichte

    Hello from Germany! May i quote a post a translated part of your blog with a link to you? I've tried to contact you for the topic Can democracy work in Afghanistan? – Afghanistan Crossroads – CNN.com Blogs, but i got no answer, please reply when you have a moment, thanks, Gedichte

    May 18, 2010 at 3:12 am | Report abuse |
  2. A.M. Deist

    Democracy can work in Afghanistan as long as there are U.S. troops to enforce the elections, allow only candidates that are acceptable to the United States, and use military power to prevent any challenge to the Democracy.

    January 21, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ahmad

    Democracy cannot be independant from religion, Israel is democracy but their laws are based on their religious values, US is democracy but their senators still have to listen to thier bishops before voting for a bill that dictates the terms of language on abortion. So let it be in Islam too, let their parliament decide for women to have head scarf when they go out what is wrong as long as they have women representitive voting for that, but the basic right is woman education, for instance Islam does not say don't go to school. As I said Democracy is never perfect and does not have a form, every nation shoud say "we the people". Look at our democracy here in United States are we complete? Of course not. But we still try to be the best we could. If you read the constitution in Afghanistan it is very modern but mullahs and Sheikhs voted on that as an Islamic constitution. So why other nations do not follow this example. Of course there are very extremism voices in any religion or any school of thought, but they are always minorities. Let me tell you the only thing al-Qaida and its terrorist allies are afraid of is the true Islam. If US and its allies promote moderat Islam it will be not different than moderate christianity or Judaism or HInduism. If they do that moderates will themself marginalise the extremism. The main policy we are following is right: empower the people they will eventually take care of their mess and and for sure these nations will be the true partners for the modern world no doubt about it.
    For this to happen US should start with its allies Saudi Arabia and oil producing sheikhs are the most unpopular undemocratic and repressive regimes in the world, can't we force them to give more right to their people? Of course we can, if we do so who will follow Osama and the like. I guess if anyone say what they do is Islamic it is pathatic.

    January 12, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Abdulameer

    Democracy, as we understand the term in the West, cannot work in any Moslem country because democracy and Islam are incompatible. Islam is based on Allah's sacred law, Sharia, which is in turn derived from the Koran and the sayings of Muhammad. According to Islam, Allah is the only authority for determining what is right and what is wrong. Human beings do not have such authority. In a democracy, human beings make legislation which determines what is right and what is wrong. The American Constitution begins with the words, "We, the People..." This is impossible in Islam.

    Furthermore, our democracy is based on freedom of conscience and separation of religion from state. Islam prohibits freedom of conscience and prohibits separation of religion and state. In Islam, sacred sharia law is all-encompassing; it regulates all aspects of human behavior - personal, religious, civic, military, economic - you name it. Sharia law mandates the legal superiority of Islam, the legal subordination of non-Moslems to Moslems and of women to men. Apostasy from Islam carries the death penalty.

    Even "our" Afghanistan is officially "The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan" and its constitution says that no laws may contradict the laws of Islam.

    Our attempts to bring democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan were doomed from the start because of the irrreconcilable conflict between Islam and the principles of democracy.

    January 12, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  5. PaidOnlineSurveys

    found your site today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later ..

    January 12, 2010 at 1:12 am | Report abuse |
  6. ahmad

    Democracy is not form but it is content,,, it can take any form. Everyone can benefit from democracy. Everyone likes freedom of speech, that is right but in Islamic you offend religeous values, This is an example, Democracy is like a child that needs to grow and mature. If you stop fighting in Afghanistan people will find a way to experience democracy, of course if will not be like what you have in West. West democracy is based on Christian-Judaic principles and it is acceptable to thier people but in Afghanistan the core will be Islam. Islam will find its way to adapt to the circustances. The government system in Islam would be more like Social-democratic type of government not pure capitalism. As one point what you have in current very democratic constitution in Afghanistan is pretty much based on Islamic laws. So if the government is corrupt you cannot say that the problem is Islam is to blame. The problem in Afghanistan now is that the government cannot implement the law. If United States can support the constitution of Afghanistan it will soon be a very modern Islamo-democratic nation.

    January 8, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Abdulameer

    There is no way to reconcile Islam with democracy because Islam is a complete system of sacred law (Sharia) which provides for the subordination of non-Moslems to Moslems, and the subordination of women to men. Sharia also deprives everyone of the freedoms of our First Amendment which we consider necessary to democracy. In order to have democracy in Afghanistan - or any other Moslem country - you would first have to suppress Islam.

    January 8, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. HAJIQOLY

    Democracy can work in afghanistan after prolonged time.why?they are not acuainted with democracy.becoz ,they acustomed and planted another kind of principlesin their mind they r injected .we can.t see satisfied democracy very soon ,u cannot remove more than 100 years imposed ideas from their mind.
    Afghanistan needs a long period to win the democracy system.because the basic requirement of democracy is education.so they are around 35%educated with this education ratio democracy will not success democracy.therefore afghan people need to send their children to school and gain education .

    January 8, 2010 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  9. mt

    How and since when are the United States able to talk about, propose or impose democracy for another nation, if there hasnt been a real democracy here for at least a century now.
    hahaha. democracy means the rule of the people.
    In america people have absolutely NO say in political decisions. ABSOLUTELY NONE

    January 7, 2010 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JC

    Gradually there will be a kind of Afghanistan style of "Democracy" to exist first. Then from there make some kind of improvement.

    Or the confrontation un-easy first in domestice then the neghbors Iran, Pakistan, Russia all try to make a play.

    Still better than Somalia to compare.

    December 21, 2009 at 3:28 am | Report abuse |
  11. RWT

    No. Democracy isn't even working in the USA, presently.

    December 20, 2009 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tom

    Smokey is right. Afghanistan is tribal and corrupt, and for the most part dismally ignorant. But even with stability and peace, if the corruption, tribalism, and ignorance remain, there's no hope of the governance adapting to something that isn't corrosive to the rest of the world. What a mess!

    December 20, 2009 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Smokey

    The style of government in a place works best when it emerges naturally from the conditions of that place, the physical and human geography in the region. To try and just export American-style government to a country like Afghanistan, that's bound to fail – our governance has been adapted to the conditions in America, to have effective government in Afghanistan it's got to be adapted to work there. Afghanistan is so decentralized, so remote and the people so scattered around and so different by region, governance has got to emphasize local autonomy and empower mullahs, elders, village leaders and the like – the people who can make decisions and settle disputes face-to-face with those they govern. The trouble is Afghanistan's governing style has adapted to years of violent conflict and constant mortal danger. The key is stability and peace – if you have that, governance will adapt itself to those conditions. I think there should be serious consideration given to creating "Pushtunistan" out of southern Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan, and then going to war with it.

    December 19, 2009 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joe Clark

    Democracy will work as well in Afghanistan as it did in South Vietnam. Short lived and misunderstood by the majority of its people.

    December 19, 2009 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JMPotratz

    Democracy?? Are you kidding me? They only have loyalty to family, clan and tribe. They've never accepted any form of national government and never will. Democracy? What a stupid question! Every dime spent there is a waste of tax dollars.

    December 19, 2009 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  16. DDS

    It dont work in the USA so why would it work there ? and THEY DONT WANT OUR CORRUPT WAYS

    December 19, 2009 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
  17. Ron san bruno

    Lets be realistic democracy is a figment of the imagination. Wether Its in the USA or any other part of the world. All democracies are run from behind closed doors. Democracies are based on agenda's therefore there is no place for rationality. Thus we can say democracy is a perseption without substance. $ is the face of democracy , where is the voice in that .

    December 19, 2009 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
  18. U

    I am tired of hearing the same thing over and over again. Blaming this situation on Islam and the Muslims is not factual, and is very biased. Did you know, Mr. Ross that almost 1/4 of the worlds population is Muslim. Do you believe that every person out of billions is the same? It is ridiculous for you to say "These Muslims will not tolerate democracy," its such an enormous generalization. Thats about as stupid as saying that Americans hate government because they dont want public health care. It's really pathetic, some of the arguments, of people who don't use logic and do not breath into the subject, but scratch the surface and declare it the truth.There is way too much antisemitism (yes being anti muslim is anti-semitism, as Arabs and Muslims are a Semitic People). I hope Mr. Ross will stop posting these ridiculous comments and instead investigate further into the topic. I agree with the respected soldier from Afghanistan ( and I thank him for serving his country, we are proud of you) sitting from your computer with the heating on next to you does not give you the right to say what's happening in a place thousands of miles away. Your judgement is not accurate, it is biased, and you are recieving your information from a lense that has its own set of bias. Stop talking and think for a moment!

    December 19, 2009 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  19. Xasthur

    A_Silly_Mouse

    What happened before a few rockets were fired at Israel? Sanctions were placed on the territories and funding cut-off because of their vote. Would you let someone strangle you to death without making a dying whimper?

    What Israel and the U.S. needs to do is just get on board the international consensus which is a 2 state solution with internationally recognized borders and security, and accept U.N. resolutions and stop blocking and vetoing peace for 30 years.

    Also where is your proof that Bin Laden was behind 9/11? I mean it is highly likely, but why did the U.S. refuse to give out that information? That is what the Taliban asked for when the U.S. threatened war if the Taliban did not turn over Bin Laden. The Taliban asked for some proof and the U.S. refused.

    December 18, 2009 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  20. A_Nonny_Mouse

    To #62, Lynne

    "Stop meddling in their internal affairs" sure sounds good, until you remember that the reason we went into Afghanistan in the first place is that –wait for it– Afghanistan gave Osama Bin Laden and his cohorts "safe harbor" there after they had committed the 9/11 attacks on us.

    If Bin Laden and his faithful goons hadn't destroyed the Twin Towers, causing the deaths of around 3,000 civilians (remember- targeting civilians is the very definition of "terror tactics"), we would not have pursued him into Afghanistan. By attacking us on our own soil, Mr. Bin Laden became more than just the murderous pest who was responsible for several attacks on our ships, embassies, and other interests overseas. Bin Laden is the one who brought this grief to Afghanistan, so please reserve your outrage for him.

    Thank you.

    December 18, 2009 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  21. A_Nonny_Mouse

    to #57, Xasthur

    Gee, I remember it differently.

    The way * I * heard it, Xasthur-the-Dissembler, the Palestinians stepped up their firing of rockets into Israel's towns and villages. (These were NOT military targets mind you, they were definitely attempting to kill civilians. That is one of the definitions of "terror tactics".)

    EVERY nation has the duty to protect its people from outside attacks such as Hamas was committing. So Israel struck back. Do you also remember that Israel would place telephone calls 10 minutes before air strikes, warming the civilians to get OUT of the buildings that Hamas was shooting from? Israel bent over backwards to protect civilians, even though the warnings that they gave were often passed on to the terrorists so they could vacate the building as well.

    Let me tell you what can end the Israeli retaliations for attacks the various Palestinian factions make on it: ALL the Palestinian groups can shut up, sit down, and go about normal daily civilian life. If this were to happen, Israel would stand-down its military as well and –ta-daa!– there would be "Peace in Palestine".

    Now go back under your rock.

    December 18, 2009 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  22. lynne

    This country is basically the cradle of civilization, over 3000 years old. Whom are we in this country of roughly, barely over 230 years or so, to tell them what to do?

    Besides don't let the looks of these people fool you. Those people may be more intelligent and/or educated than we think. Because of their style of dress, dirt floors and block houses we always assume that people are undereducated or plain illiterate.

    We Americans have this idea that we can go and do whatever we want whenever we want in any country we want. When caught, it is a big international melee that shouldn't have been all because we don't want to respect other peoples.

    We need to come to terms with the fact that democracy doesn't work for some people and/or cultures. We can't make the world in our image. We have to learn to respect those countries who govern differently from us whether we like it or not. Respect them and stop meddling in their internal affairs.

    December 18, 2009 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  23. notherROUND

    No, democracy will not work in any of the Mid East countries. They are more interested in developing tribal power than National power. Plain and Simple

    December 18, 2009 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Mickey

    This is sad, i'm pretty young and wasn't even born during the Vietnam era. But it seems like the people of the US had way more balls than they do now....i blame the misuse of technology...maybe if people stopped typing 70 wpm and actually got off their behinds, they would take action instead of venting/complaining on every article they read on this behemoth

    December 18, 2009 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  25. msmac123

    I do not think democracy will work because the country as been a tribal society since
    man walked up rite! They don't want us there and we should not be. Let them deal with
    their own iternal problems as we should be dealing with ours.

    December 18, 2009 at 5:12 am | Report abuse |
  26. Allen N Wollscheidt

    Can democracy work in Afghanistan ?

    Indeed !

    "Can democracy work in the United States ?" - is a more cogent question.

    The ability of our population to look after its own interests is on a precipitous dcline !
    .

    December 18, 2009 at 3:57 am | Report abuse |
  27. Xasthur

    The U.S. only supports democracy when it is in it's strategic or economic interests.

    Usually, the U.S. prefers despotic tyrants and brutal dictators to be in charge who will do the U.S.'s bidding and share the wealth of the country with U.S. investors or invest it in wall street.

    The U.S. recently supported democratic elections in Palestine. When the people voted for Hamas, the Israeli/U.S. alliance immediately crushed the Palestinians for daring to vote the wrong way.

    December 17, 2009 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  28. BlackCat

    The US government is 100% corrupt, but it is all nice and LEGAL because the majority have no voice. NO government in power wants democracy. If you want democracy, then vote in Online surveys. Voting in the On-line surveys will help the On-line sites raise money for farther enhancements in security, user interface, better computers, and better networks. When the On-line surveys become more trusted than the old government, then people can vote out the old governments using the On-line surveys and thereby have PURE DEMOCRACY. Different On-line sites will serve as checks and balances against others - instead of the current system where one group of elites serves as a check and balance against another group of elites.

    December 17, 2009 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Bob Ramos

    No war has ever been won in Afghanistan without the support of the Afghan people. This coming year may be the pivotal year in which the Afghans will decide which way to go. That's when Obama's strategy announced last week will be implemented. The plan calls for 30,000 more U.S. troops in the next months to target the insurgency and also train additional Afghan security forces.

    -----------------------------

    There is no real way to win in Afghan. We threw away all chances of that in 2002 when we invaded Iraq and ignored Afghan.

    Democracy may or may not, be right for Afghan. Only the folks there can decide and not us.

    December 17, 2009 at 4:22 am | Report abuse |
  30. The Professor

    Isn't it time to end our arrogant, hypocritical adventure into Nation Building, the favorite idea of the right-wing extremists in the good ole USA?

    How would we like it if a Dictatorship came to the United States and a attempted to build a dictatorhip here? OOps - we already had that attempt under Bush – Cheney and their friends. Then, with good sense, we rejected it and elected Obama – Biden.

    Now we have the NO Party doing everything they can to reject movement toward an improved health care bill and any other fair and balanced bill that would improve the lives of average income Americans.

    GOP = Benefactors of the top 1% of income earners in the USA. And, the rest of us, per Republican doctrine, can go to "heck".

    December 16, 2009 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Billy Bob

    Democracy will not be achieved in Afghan until the Afghans want it. We nor any other country can force a country to become a democratic society. Afghanistan cannot be won, we dont know who we are fighting, The Taliban, Al Queda, War Lords, Wannabe War Lords, Iran is in Afghanistan as well, we are fighting them. The people, the ones who say we are friends with whoever is in power that day in their region is the problem and the solution, they need to step up, a Civil War has to come about for that country to become Democratic, We are doing nothing there but getting killed and looking like idiots to the world. Until the people of Afhgan step up, nothing will change, there will be good stretches or rather quiet stretches and not quiet stretches with regards to attacks and bombings but the country will not ever become a democratic society until an Afghan steps up and takes lead in the bring the Country together not just one remote region.

    December 16, 2009 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Mike

    To be brief, no. It's time Americans realize that the world is much bigger than what the average person comprehends. You cannot take western/European values and impose them from without. All change must come fron within. Our only concern should be how to defend ourselves if they present a viable theat to our well being. They do have a very real respect for "an eye for an eye". Get it!

    December 16, 2009 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  33. rrock

    Lets see, we replace a corrupt government with another corrupt government of drug dealers and spend a trillion dollars we borrowed from the Chinese using the excuse that we will defeat al qaeda and bring democracy. Except that al qaeda exists in Europe, Africa, Indonesia and even in the US and the their government will remain corrupt.

    December 16, 2009 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  34. alie

    no democracy cant wok there. Thats asking to change culture and that won't happen. When is everyone going to realize that we are there for nothing–people are dieing for nothing

    December 16, 2009 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Genesis

    Actaully I think that democracy in Afghanistan will never work, We thibk that it will but were just losing time, plus they follow another religion we can't change the way they think but if we vote this I think if we actually put in effort on voting we can do it. But Democarcy is better in the United States.

    December 16, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Joseph Leff

    No, democracy will not work in Afghanistan. The people succumb to their tribal leaders who are opposed to anything resembling democracy.

    December 16, 2009 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  37. Art

    Democracy in Afghanistan, I don't think so. Are we going to change there religion? It's going to be a long time before that country is anything but what it is. Bring the troops home now! Lets have a national vote! "We the people" can do this.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
  38. Abdulameer

    How is it possible to write an article about the possibility of democracy in Afghanistan without mentioning what dominates and motivates the hearts and minds of the Afghan people - namely, the religion and ideology of Islam? Without taking Islam into account, any such discussion is, at best, useless. The real name of the country, by the way, is "The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan", and NOT "Afghanistan". Why do you suppose that is? What do you suppose is the significance of this? The name is not just pulled from a hat arbitrarily. The constitution of The Islamic Republic Afghanistan says that ALL laws must be in accordance with the laws of Islam, that is, in accordance with the Koran and the sayings of Muhammad. Right away this precludes anything like democracy as we understand the term. It automatically eliminates the freedoms guaranteed in our Constitution, especially our First Amendment. In Islam, the election of legislators is permitted, but only for the purpose of implementing Shariah law because, in Islam, the only authority for determining what is right and wrong is Allah as expressed in the Koran, the sayings of Muhammad and Shariah law. Human rights, as we understand the term, cannot exist in an Islamic country. The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, just like ALL other Moslem countries, rejects the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and supports the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam which declares that Islam is superior to all other religions and that ALL human rights must be derived from and be in accordance with Islamic Shariah law. So, the answer to the question, Can Democracy Work in Afghanistan?, is a resounding NO.

    December 16, 2009 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  39. jackie Chin

    Technology has made the world very small and integrated. A training camp in Afghanistan can be a staging area to attacked anywhere in the world within one day's flight. The rule of engagement is so different- suicidal attack will never be contemplated in the West while it is routine in the Islam country..... The threat perceived by the West can only be eliminated by bringing Afghanistan and other similar territories to a Western way of life and value – which is beyond reach and politically incorrect. Obama's policy is dome to fail because of the fundamental.

    December 16, 2009 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
  40. Nassir Azimi

    It is naive of US leaders to think that we can bring a US "trained" politician like Karzai and force him on the Afghan people. The people )although mostly lacking in education" are not stupid. They see through this current corruption and government. They realize Karzai's motivation. His desires are not a peaceful or soverign afghanistan.... He simply wants to enrich himself and his corrupt cronys.

    The future of Afghanistan should be at the hands of a more pure leader who has its long term sruvival in mind. Karzai is not that person. The sooner the US leaders see this the more succeful the effort.

    December 16, 2009 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  41. jangocat

    No it cant work because these people think like bronze age primitives. They are a nation of followers who value tradition over progress. You can lead a horse to water but you cant make him drink.

    December 15, 2009 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  42. DAG

    Nobody seemed to have a problem with going into Afghanistan in the first place. Al Qaeda was there, and the Taliban were harbouring them. So what do you do, just kill everybody and then leave? We feel the weight of those decisions now, but the easy answer isn't the right one. No, you don't just leave and abandon a shashed country to a humanitarian crisis in front of the entire world. You take responsibility and you rebuild, except that we don't build monarchies, theocracies, or despotates. We go with what we know, that people have the right to influence their own destiny. Once they can defend themselves long enough to sort that out, we'll leave and they can do what they want. And what we ask in return is that they not harbor people who'll fly planes into cities or threaten us with nukes. It's as simple as that.

    As for heroin? Maybe it would be less of an issue if your kids and neighbors just put down the drugs and pick up a book. Or we just all remember that life is difficult sometimes and no amount of drugs will make it better, so suck it up, go to therapy, or eat a bullet. The drug trade, after all, is driven by demand.

    December 15, 2009 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  43. C. K, Justus

    Democracy will not work in country that has been ruled by tribes, war lords, dictators, criminals, and religious leaders for 5 thousand years, not in the near term. It may some day, but I doubt it for the tribes will rule their area, as will the war lords, and religious leaders.

    Afghanistan will always be ruled by several different types of government forever or until Christ comes again.

    December 15, 2009 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Alex

    Nothing (including democrazy) works well in Afganistan, because it is a non-country. Just the fact that it is 50% Persian and 50% Pushtun speaking excludes any point of "democrazy". If you organize elections of non-country "USA-Mexico", create "National Army" and "National Police" of "USA-Mexico", you would have every single problem you have in Afganistan: The masses of Mexicans in that non-country would not have any interest of the gringo parlament that pretends to represent them and would turn to their village militia for protection instread. Just look Europe: every successful democrazy is ethnically based (there are just two exceptions, Belgium and Switzerland which are stable only because they are small and are located in stable regions). You can never have successful democrazy in Afganistan. Only if you divide it into Pushtunistan and Khorazan, you have any chance of having successul democrazies there.

    December 15, 2009 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  45. William T. Taylor

    I am confident that I am not knowledgable enough about Afghanistan to wisely answer "Can Democracy Work In Afghanistan". But I do know this planet has become a world that countries can and does have an impact on other countries. WMD's, Terrorism, and Drug Trafficing.....just to mention a few......can and does have a serious impact on USA and other countries. When these type of threats exist action to defend will and must be taken. I personally believe that savagery and barbarism......killing of innocent women and chidren......demands intervention. Hopefully someday the world will agree on how to live in peace. We have so many different beliefs, but the world is a lot smaller now we are mixing together, this will cause conflict, but someday peace can happen. Analogy: Husband and Wife love each other deeply and often have serious disagreements, but deal with problems in a peaceful manner......that doesn't mean they agree.

    December 15, 2009 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Charlie Harmon

    The real question is "Can Democracy work in the United States?" We have two political parties that are bought and paid for buy the inside Washington power brokers and special interests. Every four years they select two people to run who have already been bought and paid. They make debates on shallow issues that have nothing to do with the long term vitality of our nation. We are fighting two unnecessary wars that are unpopular with the majority of Americans. We have major health care "reform" that is basically a payday bonanza for the insurance industry and big pharma. Yet with this "reform", not everyone will still be covered. So my question: "Does Democracy work in America??" Let's fix ourselves before we arrogantly go around bullying other nations to adopt our "values."

    Charlie Harmon
    Baton Rouge, LA

    December 15, 2009 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Sid

    Missing from this debate is the role of Pakistan, Afganistan's neighbor and historical hegemonist. The Pakistani military, will calls the shots in that country, actively undermines democracy in their own country and have no desire for democracy to take hold in Afghanistan either. Consequently the Pakistani secret police, ISI, have always supported local Afghan groups such as the Taliban that keep the central Kabul government weak. There has been no public debate on the corruption in Pakistan; we as American taxpayers send more than $1 billion to Pakistan every year but a significant part of that is siphoned off by the Pakistan army to fund the ISI, lavish lifestyles for its top officers, bribes to politicians, salaries for Taliban fighters and ofcourse tolerance for Al Qaeda leaders on its soil. The current in-the-box thinking among policy makers assumes that we still need Pakistan to get supplies out to Afghanistan. The solution is for the US to join Afghanistan in questioning the legitimacy of Pakistan's rule over the North-west Frontier and Baluchistan. Baluchistan in particular needs to be liberated from Pakistan as its people want. This will provide an alternative route to land-locked Afghanistan and enable a more effective policy towards the terrorist-allied Pakistani military. A no-fly zone for the Pakistani Airforce in Baluchistan would be a great first step.

    December 15, 2009 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  48. starcruiser

    Heck, I'm starting to believe that Democracy isn't a workable form of government as it's too prone to corruption due to the fact it basically legalizes the buying off of politicians via Lobbyiest who are financed by big business which is no different than the War Lords mentioned in this article. Big business likes war more than War Lords do anyway....As War is the U.S. favorite hobby, a hobby who's excuse enables govenment leaders to funnel almost unlimited amount of the poeple's tax dollars back to the special interest groups involved in Military expendatures who helped in getting them elected.

    And eveyone thinks Afganistan is corupt?

    December 15, 2009 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  49. BSH

    Why should anyone try to set up a democracy in Afghanistan in the first place? Democracy really isn't an effective form of government anyway, they should set up a constitutional republic instead.

    December 14, 2009 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Richard Keller

    If USA had a Democracy they would have universal health care, but they don't they have a Republic.

    USA became successful not because of Democracy, but because of the separation church and state.

    Their military became the best, because they were selling to both sides during World War 2 until Japan attacked.

    December 13, 2009 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Zeba - Kabul

    The US is puting large size pressure on Karzai to fight corruption. I want to ask the US, Where do you really think Mr Karzai should start from?
    A) From his own brothers who are the world's biggest Drug Barrons?
    B) From his Noorzai Clan who are the world's biggest Drug Barrons and Mafia as one such charecter is already serving a life sentence in the US (Haji Bashar Noorzai)?
    C) From his first Vice president General Fahim who is the God father of all Drug Barrons, Mafia groups in Afghanistan, Centeral Asia and Russia, or his 2ned Vice President Mr Khalili who looted all the artifactes from Kabul Musuem and sold them all to Japanes collectors, who has raped hundreds of women during the 1992 0 1996 Afghan Civil wars and who is a right hand man of Mr Ahmadinezhad?
    D) Or simply Mr Karzai will start killing more ordinary Afghans and stamping them at Terrorists, Drug Barrons and evils) just to save his gangs.

    Shame, Shame on the present US regime in Washington.

    Karzai is not the liability of the Afghans, if the NATO & US withdraw, Karzai will not last 2 days, but Karzai became the Liability of the US & NATO in a very large way, unless the US & NATO adress this Libility by removing him and his gang, the US & NATO are more likely to Loss this battle in Afghanistan.

    The 18 months withdrawal announcemnet was a mistake made by Mr Obama, I am sure he is regreting it now, but once a bullet is fired it cant be reversed, the damage is done.

    The withdrawal of US & NATO from Afghanistan will be a disaster and the consequences will be so costly that will force the US & NATO to militarly intervene in Afghanistan for the 2ned time.

    Many Thanks

    December 13, 2009 at 6:55 am | Report abuse |
  52. Javed Afghan

    Why the Mayor of Kabul was only charged with just $16,000 of fraud? This is a Joke!
    Mayor of Kabul is a very big position, the Mayor daily income (Into his pocket) is no less than a $100,000 and some of that cash might be going to the pockets of Qayum Karzai, General Fahim and Mr Khalili. I believe to charge the Mayor with this small amount is another stunt of Karzai & his gang to show to the world that not with even such a small amount one could get away.
    Karzai and his gang of warlords made it with fraud, plain and pure fraud, if the US is expecting for Karzai to erradicate corruption, warlordism and insurgency than the US & NATO are insane.
    Karzai will play his smart game with (Anti coruption commissions, anti corruption laws, Bla Bla Bla Bla ) and the US & NATO soldiers will be killed on daily basis and the lives of the Afghans will go from bad to ugly.
    Shame on the US policy makers and shame on their lack of understanding the Afghan rich history and culture.
    An Advice to the US Public: Please send all your policy makers and politicians to prisons and get better men in place. Thanks

    December 13, 2009 at 6:21 am | Report abuse |
  53. XYZ

    It is absurd to say that there are some kind of cultural "norms" that prevent a certain group of people from accepting democracy. History has proven this over and over again. Whereas South Korea became a bastion of modern democracy, North Korea became a giant concentration camp. Everyone wrote off democracy in Germany and Italy after the rise of fascist governments there on the grounds that they didn't have a democratic "tradition," now those are some of the most democratic countries in the world. Sure we could take the easy way out,leave Afghanistan and let the taliban take over the country, Then we would be right back where we were before 9/11. If we do that we would seriously be the most selfish, lazy group of human beings in the history of the world.

    December 12, 2009 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Knut

    Democracy will not work in a country such as Afghanistan, where the majority of the population is illiterate and the wealth rests in the hands of less than 1% of the population. Although this might sound vaguely familiar to the US, Afghanistan does not really have a middle class, except of in the larger cities, there is no infrastructure, no running water etc. Religion and State are not only linked, but religion would determine who would be voted into a position of power (presidency), however in the absence of some underlying social and governmental structure this would very quickly spiral into a position of absolute power.
    Unfortunate as it may seem with the current state of affairs, someone like Saddam Hussein would be needed to control the chaos that otherwise prevails, through terror, fear and propaganda.
    Unless you have lived in a country for several years and understand how different it is from yours, how can you possibly attempt to make policies for that country? Silly stuff.

    December 11, 2009 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  55. daffy2

    They already have there democracy there,it just not like ours,to many indians out on the plains in the valleys and up in the mountains.afghanistan is not the problem its pakistan that i feel could be more of a big threat to the u.s.if the taliban with al queda influence gain control of the pakistania army and there nuclear weapons they would be a threat to everyone in the region and the u.s.if one nut case is willing to stick a explosive up his butt to blown himself and everyone around him up just think what they could do with nuclear weapons.

    December 11, 2009 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  56. austin

    How has there been no coverage of the Norwegian Lights? The Russian Military denied that it was one of their rockets outright, so please, delve into this at least a modicum!

    And if it was a rocket, as seems to be the plea now, let's have them do it again... yes?

    December 11, 2009 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Harleynut

    Our kind of democracy will not work. Because of cultural differences, we must just help them find their own path.

    On corruption, this is human nature and cultural norms. How can we complain about corruption, when in our own country we have corruption going on every day?

    We have sitting known corrupt politician's like Hillary Clinton, I still would like to know how she turned $1000.00 dollars into $100,000.00 in cattle futures without inside help. I can't imagine Hillary hangs around stock yards?

    December 11, 2009 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Ryan

    As Mayor of Washington D.C., Barry was the target of a high-profile 1990 arrest on drug charges, which precluded him from seeking reelection that year. After he was convicted of the charges, Barry served six months in a federal prison, but was elected to the D.C. city council in 1992 and ultimately returned to the mayoralty in 1994, serving from 1995 to 1999. Today, Barry again serves on the city council, representing Ward 8, which comprises Anacostia, Congress Heights, Washington Highlands, and other neighborhoods.

    December 11, 2009 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Ahmad

    Religion could be separate from state, but it would be on paper only. Look at the antiabortion movement here in United States. Senators at the conservative states has to have the approval of church before they sign a bill,,,, if this is the separation of the church from state,,, you can make same type of government in those nations as well if you say that government should run for the good of the constituents, here too even liberal senators fail to do it, they have to listen to minority theocratic voices to decide about the future of a historic bill. In summary you cannot run a government without religious interference. The difference would be that here a church will interfere in government affairs in Islamic countries the mullahs would do that. It is simple again this argument should not discourage people here in united states that Muslim countries cannot be democratic nations,,, of course different religious values will shape democracy form in different nations but democracy would be the future of all nations. We have to give them the necessary tools to fight their radical and reactionary forces.

    December 11, 2009 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  60. Leon

    Democracy works in the West (admittedly imprefectly, but to a far greater degree than in the Mid-East/Central Asia) because the West spent roughly 3000 years slowly progressing toward it. No Western nation went from Augustus Caesar to Parliament in 8 years – and none could have. And even the Western democracy is a far-cry from error-free.

    Those who want to 'democratize' the world are extremely naive if they believe you can invade a country and say, "Skip the Greek Golden Age, skip the Renaissance, skip the Reformation, and the Age of Enlightenment too; just make with the the democracy already."

    I don't mean to sound condescending, but this is the best analogy I can come up with on the spot: It's like an adult putting an infant behind the wheel of a car and saying, "We're all humans, so we should all be driving."

    This is true for every non-Western country, from Russia to China to Zimbabwe. The greater a society's cultural distance from Western historical experiences (see above), the less likely those societies will be able to estabilsh a functional and sustainable democracy. The unpalatable truth of life is that brutal dictatorships are a necessary step on the path to developing a democracy.

    All this is especially true for Muslim societies who have been locked in a culture that produces Islam and nothing but Islam. Societies whose religion has essentially kept them locked in the 7 Century for over 1000 years.

    December 11, 2009 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Riyadh

    you know it is really amazing to me how few people actually know what is going on in this world. I don't say this to redicule or put down anyone, fact is many people in western society believe only what their governments want them to believe via the media. Does anyone actually think this is about heroin trade? or simply instilling a demcocracy govnt in iraq and afghanistan? The answer is not really. Why is the US UK UN so intersted in putting a democractic state in these countries? That is what you have to ask yourself, not if it cna succeed in Afghanistan but WHY should we try and implement this ideology?

    First the poster "jaime" above put it best. You can not have democracy in coutnry that puts Islam above all else. IT WILL NEVER WORK! EVER! To ask the Afghani people puppet government to do this, will not matter, they will then always have termoil in that region. The UN was succeful infiltrating the Ottoman Empire by impleneting spies with in, as we all know the best way to take down an Empire is from within. They then put their own puppet governments in coutnries such as Turkey, Jordan, Saudi, Egypt etc and call these countries Muslim coutnries.

    That is not reality, they are not muslim countries and thus are trying to do the same with Afghanistant and Iraq.

    Why do you ask? It goes back many many many years ago to the attack on relgion, all of the great religions that were sent down by god (Allah – subhanwatallah) the great hebrew religion sent to prophet Abrahem (peace be upon him) with the Torah. The attack on Jeudiasm, the end result was reformed Jeudiasm. The attack on the Injeel, the Gospel, that was sent down by God all mighty, the omnipotent, the creater of the heavens and in the earth and all living things, sent to Prophet Isa (Jesus, peace be upon him), where Jesus himself preached believe in the one TRUE GOD, he was just the messanger. The end rest of the attack on Christianity are the many different sects and religions that people have maniuplated over the years and of course materialism and secularism, seperation as posters above me pointed, from Chuch and State.

    In other words, if you do not see it, it does not exist. If you do not see god, it does not exist, full blown materialism folks. and the Attack on Islam as we see it today, but the US and UK and UN are wasting their time. Islam will never defeated simply put, Muslims have more fear in GOD (Allah-subhanwatallah) then any form of government, man made government. Why is that? Humans are imperfect, we have many flaws, and we can not be trusted into making a system of life for ourselves, greed will eventually seep in and thus inequality will exist. The true system of life which Allah sent down with the Torah before it was changed and the Gospel before it was change, and finally with the last Prophet on earth, sent down as a final mercy to all of huminity, the Quran. Those are the true system of how to leave a peaceful and equal life folks wake up.

    Afghanistan will NEVER be succomb to any invasion. The Chinese Dynasty's have tried, the Russians have tried and the US/UK/UN invasion is trying but it will never work. As prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) told everyone, the place of Khorasan will never be occupied.

    You really have to ask yourselfs this, who is really behind all this? Why all these attacks on religion? As a poseter above said, untill Afghani's learn to treat women equally and childeren equally etc etc....might I humbly remidn you that in teh US about 50 years ago no long ago, balcks and whites were seperated. they had different rules, women didnt have the same rights as men, couldnt vote, couldnt work etc etc etc....500 years ago, in medieval Europe people were burying daughters when they were born...the great deceit by the media has people believe that Islam treats Women and children differently then men when in reality is different. We are all equal! During the days of prophet Mohammed, Islam abolished slavery, Islam gave women rights to work, own land, vote etc....this was more then 1400 years ago! Yet the great country of the US and A didnt have human equality oh up until 60 years ago and yet they want to show the world how to live?

    people wake up! Look at who the real terrorists are, dont be fooled, but I am one of you, who we are kidding? We spend our days and nites salving and working 5- 60 hours who cares about god, about anything really as long as i get my check every two weeks or every week and provide for my family I dont care. I dont blame you, that is how we have been condition systimcally to think. It is very sad.

    December 11, 2009 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Ms. J

    This is less about Democracy and more about a breeding ground for terrorists in a country that is muscled by the Taliban who in many instances are working directly with al Qaeda. If no one does anything to eliminate that reality, al Qaeda will continue to grow and pose a threat beyond Afghanistan to every corner of the globe. That's it. The average person in Afghanistan just wants to be left alone; they have no concept of loyalty to a country, it's about being protected by their local tribe and being left alone. The main crop is the heroin and opium which goes in and out of the country thanks to either the Taliban or local tribes or both. It's an endless problem that must be addressed, or the jihad that has been established will only get bigger. You can count on it. Pull out of Afghanistan and you think the problem will go away? Not a chance.

    December 11, 2009 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  63. Dragginbutt in Virginia

    Mr Perrier's comments only illustrate the ignorance displayed by many that follow the media reports. For one, this is not a "Muslim" problem. The fact that they are living in a Muslim country does not by default condemn all Muslims or their religion. While it is true that some radical extremists DO quote the qouran, and use their religion to their own benefit, it does nto mean all Muslims agree with their tactics or politics. I Feel that most Muslims in the area only want peace, and to feel safe. If the Government can't provide this, they will turn to those who can, even if they rule by intimidation and cruelty. It may not be the best system in the world, but it is their system. They understand it's rules, and know how to live within it's sandbox. I also think that given a choice, they will always choose the system of government that gives them the most HOPE. Right now, the Karzai governmeent is not doing that. I agree with many that the US's policy of attempting to re-create the world in its own image is not serving anyone. Unless we can detach from this active use of force, we cannot ever hope to win a true victory. Time will show, that the people will eventually get to the point where they say enough is enough. For those of you who wish to provide commentary on subjects such as this, please do a little research and attempt to understand the issues before spreading pure garbage. Think before you type.

    December 11, 2009 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  64. RichP the Pocono's

    Nope, not from the top down which is the US approach, the tribes run the country, if democracy is to be considered it needs to start at that level and work up. Listen to the special forces people that the military has had living with them, oh I forgot, the special forces don't know what they are talking about, the politicians and diplomats in their ivory towers on the other hand are the experts.
    As far as our country, those same politicians are driving us towards a very bad situation, more and more citizens are getting fed up with DC so we may not be the best examples in the world anymore..

    December 11, 2009 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  65. bamboo

    We have no business invading and occupying this country, and “installing” a so called democracy. Democracy is not “installed”; it is the fruit of a struggling people’s labor and desires.
    It is not our right to install a different form of government anywhere except in the US.
    And we do not have a democracy here so let’s not pretend to be a model for the world. What the invasion of Afghanistan is all about is protecting the Caspian oil pipeline, and protecting the CIA’s bumper crop of opium; oh and yes, wink wink, it is about looking for Osama bin Bush.

    December 11, 2009 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  66. Rick

    Fundamentally, at their base level, people are the same the world over, regardless of whether they are in the first world or the third world. Generally, they want a roof over their head, they want an occupation, they want a family and they want security. It doesn't matter if it's Afghanistan or America, those needs and wants are the universal. And, I believe, they would generally want a say in their government. We see over and over again in places which have no history of democracy, including Afghanistan, huge turnouts in those first few voting excercises, in spite of threats to personal safety. The notion that citizens of Afghanistan don't want or couldn't function with democracy is a ludicrous myth and already demonstrateably false.

    December 11, 2009 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  67. ima goodblogger

    In short no it wont.

    December 11, 2009 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  68. Ben

    Democracy or any form of civilized government is impossible in that region as long as religion maintains a central role in their lives. Since no one is entertaining the idea of creating a secular government there, any efforts to install a stable government where the rights of women and non-muslims are respected are doomed to fail miserably. The only reason our government has been so successful was that the founding fathers wisely insisted on a separation of church and state.

    December 11, 2009 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  69. Jaime

    The problem is in Afghanistan they place religion above all things which is fine, that is their culture. Democracy works in America because of seperation of church and state. For many Islam nations that doesnt work because their religious system is embedded with their political system. to make a primarily Islamic state into a democracy is like asking many to choose between Islam and politics. Who are we to force a nation into democracy? If the people CHOOSE to become a democratic nation then good for them if they choose NOT to be a democratic then thats fine in the hope that the new government doesn't hold any ill will towards another nation.

    December 11, 2009 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Kane

      separation of church and state? in the US? don't tell me you live there, if you think that there is separation between religion and state in the US, then you need to pay more attention to politics. How do you get elected in the states? play the JESUS CARD. bush did. Obama had to try really really hard to prove to people that he was christian, and not Muslim. Now if there was really separation between the church and state, why would proving his faith to Americans be so important? look at gay rights and abortion, it's very hard to find a politician in the US who is opposed to the two "issues" but not because " God and Jesus" say so. I have nothing against the Unites States, I have many friends there, I just think that people should look at themselves before the judge others.

      December 7, 2010 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
  70. McLaren5

    You simply can't change a theocracy into a democracy...it just isn't going to happen no matter how much money is wasted trying.

    December 11, 2009 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  71. DYLAN RIVIS

    This is an absolutely fatuous concept, given the clear recent historical evidence.

    Simply put, in the Taliban you have a potent, highly successful guerilla force, a force which chased the Russians out of Afghanistan and which is on the verge of doing the same with the USA, UK, Canada and other attending hangers on.

    To fulfill this suggested goal these contending forces would have to a) persuade an independantly grouped tribally organized country into a modern style democracy (which in itself is so varied as to be comical) to trust each other enough to form a centralised government. and b) believe that it can train and equip an Afgahni central army/police force which could do what the two largest powers in the world have been able to fulfil, namely to control the fanatical Taliban forces.These only two of many other possible requirements.

    The first thing that is going to happen when the US and others realize that this is a goal they cannot fulfil and they begin to withdraw is that Karzai's well dressed head is going to be found on top of some pole. If the Taliban don't get him then the US should because it is clear, if only from his body langauge, that this man is an absolute sneak and is probably skimming American tax dollars for all he is worth. If he can escape these ignominies then it is my bet that the first dust seen flying flying up from escaping shoes will be from his, as he heads to some safe haven he has probably already secured for himself.

    If the US wants to in some way deal with it's embarrassment over 9/11 it would be far better off, instead of chasing, like the fabled Don Quixote, vapor-like militants across the face of the globe, dismantling the webs of asphyxiating Israeli supporting groups embedded in the US government, forcing Israel to withdraw from the stolen Palestinian lands and to stop being the middle east's version of the Nazis, then that might serve, at a minimum, as a gesture to the Arab/Islamic world that the US is not a religiously and culturally racist country and is beginning to comprehend that that 'other world' does have many legitimate claims which remain ignored for decades, if not centuries.

    December 11, 2009 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  72. Lets be real

    NO WAY! Are you kidding? These people are backwards in every regard.It's like asking if Obama beleives in free market capitalism and limited government. NOOOOOOO

    December 11, 2009 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  73. Mike Jones

    No different than here in the US. The kickbacks, cronyism, and bribery run rampant here in the US. Congressman Charlie Rangel, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Rod Blagojevich, Bernard B. Kerik, NYC Police Commisioner, Jack Abramoff, Ted Stevens from Alaska, Whitewater, Vince Foster, Congressman William Jefferson of LA, Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland, former Illinois Governor George Ryan, Ohio Governor Bob Taft, Van Jones, Former Democrat Gov. Donald Siegelman of Alabama, Frank Ballance – a former Democrat Rep. from North Carolina, Former Senator Kennedy's brother in law Raymond Reggie. Look at the city of Chicago which is completely corrupt. The list goes on and on and I could spend all day typing them up.

    December 11, 2009 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  74. ahmad

    Democracy is a universal value you can't say some people like it some don't. Only tyrant regimes and authority want it in order benefit from undemocratic form of government. But
    this is true that is true that democracy is taking its own form based on cultural and religeous value of different nations. You can have a democracy with burqa and scarf if no one force it women and a representitive government that women representitives approve it overvhelmingly. Of course in very tradational nation you will not have anti or pro abortion movement. This is the message that we have to give it the people. What American should tell them is that we are not for the form of the democracy that we have in US but we are committed to the essence of democracy which is equality, right to vote etc. If you give this message to the muslim nation they will welcome it. If you present it in the form of pop culture porn movies lavish liberal lifestyle. They will turn it down. In short it is important how we sell the democracy and how we sell it. And this is universal no one want totaliterian regimes to take their matters in their hands,

    December 11, 2009 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  75. Milo In Atlanta

    Interesting. No mention of the heroin trade? Isn't that what drives the Afghan economy? How do the drug lords and poppy farmers fit into this picture?

    December 11, 2009 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  76. ASMA

    Without education and a significant reduction of the power of tribal loyalty, democracy will not work. Uneducated (or miss-educated) people will make democracy impossible due to fear and lies and due to the lack of the foundation of democracy which is "a well educated/informed citizenry". Combining the tribal system with lack of education makes it impossible.
    Uneducated people hear untrue definition of democracy that makes them hate it or fear it before they even see it. The reason is that the tribes are structured in a way that gives each their own leverage and the propaganda against democracy will scare them of losing these leverages. Examples of what definitions I heard about democracy when I was still living under such system is to scare men with statements such as "democracy means that your wife can have sex with any man and you can not do any thing". To scare women, a statement may be translated to something like this "democracy means that you will have to always be a sex-toy and will lose the support of a man; you will be kicked from one bed to another and will fend for yourself alone". For parents, "democracy means your kids can scream at you, slap you in the face, spit at you, and do as they please while you stand their unable to do anything about it"... Examples can go on and on, but you got the point.
    If developed countries with the means and education still struggle with democracy, you will need to realize that it is harder for poor ones. Tribes in developed countries (natives in USA and Australia for example) are faring much worse than the rest. Poor in these and similar courtiers are faring worse than the rich... How do you think they will fare in a poor, tribal system? Add to that any other power structure that can enhance and re-enforce the fears mentioned about (religions for example).
    So, for democracy to work, a kind of force is needed to keep the peace until the people are educated and until the other power structures are dismantled enough. Only then will the people see and understand the true meaning of democracy and understand that it comes with great responsibility and dedication, but provide true equality, opportunity and justice. Without that, trying to impose democracy is like trying to wash a charcoal to make it turn white...

    December 11, 2009 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  77. VMIcadet

    We have to be really arrogant to think that we can create real drastic political change in a country that has opperated on essentially the same system for nearly 1000 years. Our mission needs to change from nation-building to simply counter-terrorism. We should be focusing on one goal only: the elimination of Al-Qaeda and the capture of Osama Bin laden. If we can no longer acomplish those goals because they are no longer in Afghanistan, then we really need to have a nationa conversation about redeployment in order to acheive these goals.

    December 11, 2009 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  78. V

    No, these are tribal countries and no one government system can work here. Plus these are ancient countries and they do not want to become like America. They have old world traditions which should be respected, however their ways of dealing with each other needs to be addressed. They need to have laws that restrict abuse of people, in particular women and children, and they need to have tribal councils like we do here in the US with American Indians. They run their own communities with respect for other tribes. We need to stop thinking we can change the world, we will never change traditions that people want to hold onto. If someone tries to force change, then desent, anger, and frustration that another country is telling them how to livem happens. We wouldn't take it, why should we force our beliefs on them? We need to finally respect each religion in the world, it makes for a beautiful world. The more we try to say Christ is the way, the more they say Muhammed is the way. Stupid childhood behavior. Respect of each other is the ONLY way.

    December 11, 2009 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  79. Richard Keller

    USA installed a Republic not a Democracy. Switzerland is the closest to a Democracy where they have referendums on major issues and the people decide.
    In USA if you choose a president, they are assuming the people agree with everything that party represents.
    So there isn't really a Democracy in Afghanistan, you can say it is Democratic (like democracy).

    December 11, 2009 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  80. me95076

    I just got finished serving in a tour in Afghanistan. It's should be obvious to anyone, that we are so different from them, in every aspect. It does not make us better, or them better. It should be up to them to decide what they want instead of us shoving our ideas down there throats. I've spoken with so many villagers, who really just don't care about our ideas of democracy. They run everything based on village elders, tribal meetings etc. That is there government. One local put it to me this way, "we didnt draw borders, we are families and tribes, it cant be one group of people deciding for all of Afghanistan, we don't want a government, the government, wants a government for money and power, but the people want to live there lives as they always have. to be free and left alone", A huge eye opener.

    December 11, 2009 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  81. Just Saying....

    Sooooo...how is the mayor any different from any number of American politicians, congressman, Charlie Rangel, etc. that are mired in corruption, but still hold office. America needs to clean her own house before she goes trying to sort out others.

    December 11, 2009 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
  82. Ross Perrier

    Democracy is not a wanted form of government by the people of Afghanistan. These Muslims will not tolerate democracy and are way to corrupt to have anything to do with our form of government. The only thing that keeps politicians in the US from getting so corrupt as these Muslim crooks is a lot of US politicians are scared of what their nieghbors might do to them if they get out of line. their religious God fearing neighbors. In Afghanistan, no-one cares what anyone will do and that is why we have all the internal bombings in that country. Forget democracy in Afghanistan...we are only wasting our money trying to get it there. A true wasted effort in the name only of building up US defense companies.

    December 11, 2009 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |