Ticket Replay: Did you hear the one about Washington lecturing Afghans on corruption?
As the holidays came and went, The Ticket's thoughts turned to a little
undeserved time off. So we've been re-publishing some of our favorite or
most-read items from 2009. This item originally appeared on Dec. 2. Tomorrow morning we resume our regularly scheduled programming. C U then.
President Obama, who with his latest troop moves has taken ownership of the 8-year-old war in Afghanistan, has based at least part of his ongoing support on the government there erasing corruption as a condition for such expensive American aid.
Good luck with that.
Obama -- remember, he's out of the Chicago Democratic political machine -- cited corruption in his March troop-surge speech. We then had the presidential election rigging fraud over there. Obama cited the Afghan corruption problem again last night in his address to Army cadets at West Point. (See related links at bottom).
Those words will no doubt give a real heart attack to Afghanistan's thriving opium operators.
Now comes Zbigniew Brzezinski, an outspoken fellow Democrat and former White House national security adviser, to remind Obama -- and us -- that we have some mustard on our chin too.
Brzezinski tells Sam Stein over on HuffPo:
Who are we to seriously be preaching [such] a crusade? We have a financial sector that is voraciously greedy and exploitative, to put it mildly.
We have a Congress which is not immune to special interests. And we have an electoral system that is based largely on private donations which precipitate expectations of rewards.
The notion of us going to the Afghans and preaching purity is comical... I think we should just quit that stuff.
Americans, of course, hate hypocrisy -- by everyone else. It is, for instance, just terrible corruption in Afghanistan when someone must slip extra currency under the counter for government services or to drive safely on an isolated public country road.
However, business people and lawyers handing over $30,400 to Democratic President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco back on Oct. 16 seems just hunky-dory because it's allegedly to have "dinner" with them and has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with assuring returned phone calls and access to party officials and elected members later.
That's just standard protocol in American politics, not just for Obama's money-raising presidential machine that raked in an unprecedented $750 million last year.
Or think of the number of words coming out of Washington in recent decades ending with the suffix "-gate."
Of course while we're at it, Brzezinski probably ought to be a little careful about criticizing presidential tactics in foreign crises. He and his President Carter had a not-so-minute problem with Iran way back when and American hostages and a botched desert rescue attempt.
But those things happen.
-- Andrew Malcolm
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Photo: Associated Press (Brzezinski).