democracy, a la America
NEW YORK -- Relenting to heavy political pressure both domestically
and internationally, the longtime authoritarian ruler of a south-east
Asian country reluctantly decided to hold nation-wide elections.
But in a move, characteristic of most developing nations at that
time, he rigged the elections in his favour.
cartoon published in a newspaper caricatured his response to a complaint
of massive voter fraud. "I promised to hold elections,"
the president was quoted as saying, "but I never said anything
about counting the votes."
have two elections that are coming up soon where US-installed puppet
governments -- both in Afghanistan and Iraq -- are trying to prove
they will soon have Western-style democratic nations.
President Hamid Karzai says he is determined to hold elections later
this month despite the fact that he cannot even get out of his security-laden
stronghold to campaign for votes. But then who's counting the votes?
is so heavily guarded by US mercenaries and barricaded by barbed
wire -- and heavy artillery -- that he remains totally isolated
from his own people. When he flew out of his fortress last month
to meet his political supporters in an outlying province, someone
fired a missile at his helicopter.
missile missed its mark, and both Karzai and his helicopter were
rushed back to Kabul. Neither refused to land on terra firma. So
much for electioneering and campaign swings.
Bush administration, which installed Karzai in power, wants to prove
that it can turn Afghanistan into a multi-party democracy in a country
still being ravaged by warlords.
anyone with knowledge of contemporary history knows that nobody
has succeeded in bringing Afghans under disguised military occupation
-- not the British, not the Soviets. The Americans are heading for
a lesson in history.
situation in Iraq is equally pathetic. Prime Minister Iyad Allawi,
another American quisling, was in Washington DC last week telling
US Senators and Congressmen that Iraq would be a free and democratic
nation after country-wide elections in January next year.
is bunkered in the heavily fortified, US-controlled "Green
Zone" inside the capital of Baghdad. According to a New York
Times report last month, the Americans have even installed a device
that is capable of monitoring the body heat of anyone approaching
Allawi thereby thwarting suicide bombers, the hallmark of the ongoing
Iraqi insurgency. Allawi seems more isolated than Karzai.
Allawi addressed a joint session of the US Congress last week, someone
discovered that some of the phrases he used were similar to those
used earlier by President George W. Bush. The speculation is that
both speeches were written by the same person. Allawi just delivered
what the Americans had written for him.
came to the White House to proclaim that he would hold countrywide
elections in Iraq as scheduled, despite the disenfranchisement of
hundreds and thousands of Iraqis in provinces where polls cannot
be held because of violence.
stand here today as the prime minister of a country emerging finally
from dark ages of violence, aggression, corruption and greed,''
he told Congressmen.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was asked last week how Iraq could
hold free and fair elections if entire provinces are shut out of
the electoral process, he rambled along: "Let's say you tried
to have an election, and you could have it in three-quarters or
four-fifths of the country, but in some places you couldn't go because
the violence was too great. Well, that's so be it. Nothing's perfect
in life. It's better than not having an election -- you bet!"
Rumsfeld's argument is that even if hundreds and thousands of voters
are deprived of voting, the elections are still legitimate because
nothing's perfect in this world -- and specifically if the election
suits the interests of the United States.
any other country in Asia, Africa or Latin American holds such an
"imperfect" election, the US would surely have raised
hell -- or even threatened to cut World Bank loans.
from Rumsfeld, this is no surprise, because some Americans think
that that vote count in the state of Florida for the US presidential
elections in 2000 (in which Bush was declared the winner) was in
itself a fraud-- and far from perfect.
an op-ed piece in the Washington Post last week, former US President
Jimmy Carter says that even today Florida lacks "some basic
international requirements for a fair (US presidential) election"
in November this year.
ex-president, who heads the Carter Centre in Georgia which has monitored
over 50 national elections worldwide, thinks that Florida's polling
agents are "highly partisan."
such a situation may not ensure "fair and free elections"
in the US in November. If so, should Afghanistan and Iraq be far