Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Worry Wart

I didn't really have an overweening theme for this week, so I decided to ramble rambunctiously for a bit and see where things took me. What finally emerged as my blog boiled egg for Easter was this: what a cruddy, crappy creep Hamid Karzai is.

No sooner had President Obama left Kabul this week than Karzai, in a rambling speech which the New York Times referred to as "delusional," was accusing U.N. and Western officials of having interfered with last summer's presidential election in Afghanistan. He blamed them for the fraud his own supporters patently engineered. Karzai has been "palling around with terrorists" like Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad--who visited Afghanistan recently and promptly gave a fiery anti-American speech--and he is now mouthing the same accusations that Ahmadinejad did concerning the Iranian elections. The pair of them are up to no good. Taking their cue from the Republican handbook, they are cozying up together in order to undermine Obama and undercut his strategy to win over the Afghan people. (That strategy will be sorely tested in the next couple of months when the U.S. military embarks on its big battle to take back Kandahar from the control of the Taliban.)

"Is this what American service members are dying for in Afghanistan? Can you imagine giving up your life, or your child’s life, for that crowd?" Bob Herbert asks. He quotes Dexter Filkins and Mark Landler, who stated in The Times this week: “Even as Mr. Obama pours tens of thousands of additional American troops into the country to help defend Mr. Karzai’s government, Mr. Karzai now often voices the view that his interests and the United States ’no longer coincide.' ” Well now, fancy that!

As one reader of Herbert's column slyly pointed out, one of our biggest problems in attempting to take the high road with these countries is that our own electoral system is nearly as corrupt as theirs. We compromised one election in 2000 when the Supreme Court baldly handed over the presidency hook, line, and sinker to George W. Bush, even though Al Gore had won the popular vote. The weird electoral machinations now going on in Iraq curiously mirror those of our own 2004 election in the U.S., when votes for John Kerry in Ohio mysteriously transferred over to the Republican candidate as a result of Republican-engineered, voting-machine irregularities.

Anyway, the whole business in Afghanistan has me very worried--but then, I have a reputation (for being a worry wart), and I have to uphold it somehow, don't I? Besides, the coup with the Supreme Court way back in 2000 was only the beginning of trouble to come. Now, given the latest ruling in January by the Supreme Court that allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections, the truth is, we may never see another Democrat in the White House again.

I do really worry about this, especially with the prospect of the ugly, partisan, confirmation battle that is looming when the Court's Senior Justice John Paul Stevens, an 89-year-old liberal, announces his retirement, likely to come in the next few weeks. There is just no way Republicans will allow another liberal, thereby balancing out the current preponderant conservative forces in the Court, to replace him. So prepare for a bruising showdown.

Nor would Republicans allow Obama, should he even want to, to back out of Afghanistan. As another reader of Herbert's column commented: "The jingoistic elements in this country would raise such feverish opposition to his decision that much of the country would think he was Neville Chamberlain incarnate and was a treasonous leader. If large segments of the country think that he is a Muslim, socialist or even the Antichrist, imagine the furor if he ended the war in Afghanistan. Imagine the fever that the Republicans would stir up in the country backed by the media hate machine, Fox News. He would be unable to govern."

Of course, that is my biggest fear: that, as time goes on, Obama will become increasingly unable to govern. The same reader had some further cogent comments, worth thinking about:

"What may be happening is that Obama is allowing Karzai to hang himself by continuing his corruption and criticism of America. Perhaps he is waiting for Karzai to compile such a miserable record of corruption, duplicity, and theft of services that he can take to the public as justification to end the war. Karzai it seems to me is playing into his hands if my speculation is at all accurate...I think Obama as a politician knows that he cannot lead the country where it does not want to go, given the ferocity of organized and well funded opposition against him. Unfortunately, millions of Americans, to put in politely, are not the brightest political bulbs on the planet. Obama's policies suffer because of this and he has to govern with one hand tied behind his back so to speak because so much of the country has become politically irrational."

Anyway, it's not like there isn't plenty of stuff for a Worry Wart like me to worry about. I haven't even touched on all the legal assaults being cooked up by Republicans to try to repeal the health-reform bill by declaring it unconstitutional--on the grounds that Congress has no power under the Constitution to compel individuals to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. And I haven't once mentioned the threat letters sent to state governors demanding that they leave office in the next three days. That would definitely reduce the size of government, big time!

If you don't happen to think any of these things are worth worrying about--if you see these concerns as the dubious pursuit of some guilty pleasure--please, don't hesitate to speak up. Because, after all is said and done, I do worry about my own worrisome place in the cosmos; and I wouldn't want to just waste it on things not worth worrying about. Happy Easter!

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