Attorney General Eric Holder went to Afghanistan this week to discuss with President Karzai and others issues relating to corruption in the Afghan government. U.S. law enforcement officials have been in Afghanistan for some time, partnering with the Afghan attorney general’s anti-corruption task force. These officials reportedly have grown frustrated by repeated instances in which political pressure has derailed investigations directed at senior government officials.
Holder knows a thing or two about derailing embarrassing investigations. As Scott noted yesterday, his Justice Department (apparently with Holder’s knowledge) derailed a case against thugs in Philadelphia who engaged in blatant voter intimidation on behalf of Barack Obama and the Democrats. One might have hoped that the U.S. attorney general would be more concerned with affronts to America’s democratic process than with graft in Asia.
What occurred during Holder’s meeting with Karzai is unknown. Afterwards, however, Holder applauded Karzai and his cabinet for the “positive steps” they have taken in furtherance of “improved governance and the rule of law.”
Years from now, I expect that Afghan insiders will still be laughing over their tea (though perhaps not in Afghanistan) at the earnest Americans who came to fight corruption and at the fatuous attorney general who journeyed half way around the world publicly to applaud the men who are countenancing and perhaps participating in that same corruption.
Corruption is a way of life in Afghanistan, as it is in most of the world including Chicago. If the success of our efforts there depends on curbing corruption, we should consider bringing our troops home now, rather than waiting until July 2011 to begin the process.
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