I was interested to read in this
NYT article that:
On another topic, Cheney said that this weekend's elections in Afghanistan could be rocky.
``It will be difficult. There will be attacks on polling places. Remnants of the old Taliban regime don't want those elections to succeed,'' Cheney said. But he predicted that democracy would prevail in what he said was ``the first election in Afghanistan in 5,000 years.''
Set aside the fact that this little ditty is buried in a report that Cheney believes the final ISG report justifies the war in Iraq -
- evidence that he is clearly willing to do or say anything to stay in power and implement his insane, neoconservative agenda.
First election in 5,000 years? Par for the course, Cheney exhibits in full view, the Bush administration's forever obvious ignorance of history. It takes no genius to head over to an encyclopedia (Britannica, in this case):
Zahir Shah and his advisers instituted an experiment in constitutional monarchy. In 1964 a Loya Jirga (Grand Assembly) approved a new constitution, under which the House of the People was to have 216 elected members
and the House of the Elders was to have 84 members, one-third elected by the people
, one-third appointed by the king, and one-third elected indirectly by new provincial assemblies.
Elections for both houses of the legislature were held in 1965 and 1969. Several unofficial parties ran candidates with platforms ranging from fundamentalist Islam to the extreme left. One such group was the Marxist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), the major leftist organization in the country. Founded in 1965, the party soon split into two factions, known as the People's (Khalq) and Banner (Parcham) parties. Another was a conservative religious organization known as the Islamic Society (Jam'iyyat-e Eslami), which was founded by a number of religiously minded individuals, including members of the University of Kabul faculty of religion, in 1971. The Islamists were highly influenced by the militant ideology of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and were ardently opposed to the power of leftist and secular elements in Afghanistan.
Forty years or five thousand, what's the difference? (Smaller than the difference between 60,000 and 200,000 American troops in Iraq, I guess). Yes, this the experiment in Constitutional Monarchy collapsed as Afghanistan was shredded to pieces by infighting, Communism and the Cold War. But who thinks that the current democracy, if it is one, will last very long?
Iraq is a mess in very large part because the Bushies continue to ignore history in their ideological drive to expand the American empire. I shudder to think how many more critical messes they would make given another four years.