Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Salang, It's Been Good to Know You

Click on picture to enlarge
Karman and companions. Salang Tunnel, Afghanistan, 1972.
Then the world's highest tunnel at 10,000 feet.

The Bull From Kabul
Uncle Sap just paid God only knows how many millions for a presidential election in Afghanistan. This was an exercise in stupidity equivalent to peddling veggie burgers at the cattlemen’s convention.
All sentient observers agreed that the balloting ranked with the Balloon Boy scam in utter inane fraudulence. Admitting that the election was “messy,” President Obama nevertheless congratulated his satrap, Hamid “the Haberdasher” Karzai, the evident author of the fraud, on his singular victory (singular because Abdullah ditto, the only other viable candidate, quit from the stench).
But it was not all Allah Be Praised. Pres. Obama also admonished the natty Karzai to crack down on crime and corruption. This was equivalent to telling Jeffrey Dahmer that he could still invite young men to dinner parties, but should try to prepare vegetarian dishes.
It was also a case of glass White House hypocrisy. The pelf extorted by the war and dope lords of Afghanistan (including, it is bruited, Karzai’s brother) amounts to the drip from a leaky bucket compared to the tsunami of swag cascading into the hoards of crooked U.S. contractors. For example, have you heard that our military in Afghanistan is paying $400 a gallon for gas?
As I’ve earlier blogged, I don’t get our involvement in Afghanistan. The Al Qaeda excuse is ridiculous--like fire bombing the zoo to kill a rogue elephant. The big geopolitical rationales, such as securing pipeline routes, encircling the Russ, Han and Persians, shoring up the Pakis, and generally manifesting our full spectrum dominance, are beyond the means of our debilitated forces and denuded treasury. And the claim that we want to redeem Afghan womanhood would sound more plausible were we not so lovey-dovey with the equally medieval and misogynistic Saudis.
Afghanistan is obviously a fabulous venue through which those contractors can plunder and pillage our treasury. But so would a number of more hospitable lands in temperate climes where we could more comfortably rape the cattle and run off the women.
What I do know is that Afghanistan will be the ruin of Obama. If he goes in heavy, he’ll lose heavy. If he goes in light, the generals and their congressional claque will have him for lunch.
How do I know? I was in Afghanistan for a worried week back in October 1972 (see picture above). By today’s standards, in which making up shit is given equal weight to scholarship, that makes me almost, sort of, maybe, possibly an expert.