Afghan government's corruption not our concern

November 10, 2009

In your editorial "Questions for Mr. Karzai" (Nov. 9) you make the case that if corruption isn't purged from the Afghan government, the United States should discontinue the war there against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Frankly, I don't understand how one has anything to do with the other.

If what we're doing there is making certain the people of Afghanistan have a stable government, and building the instrumentalities and infrastructure of a free and open society, then the corruption of the Karzai government would obviously need to be mitigated. But if our military involvement is to ensure that the barbarians are destroyed and the country is no longer used as a terrorist staging ground, then raising the issue of Karzai-style corruption just confuses the issue.

Should we be leaving national security decisions to the internal politics of another country? If our concern is that the Taliban and al-Qaeda are destroyed so our own people are safe, do we count pennies in waging our defense? If the war in Afghanistan is a war of necessity, as was claimed by President Obama just a few moths ago, do we withhold the additional troops his hand-picked field commander requested?

The answer to those questions is a resounding no. The national self-interest and security of the United States takes precedence over every other decision our leaders make, and Karzai administration corruption means nothing to our efforts to destroy the enemies of our country.

And that's something President Obama should be exclaiming for all to hear. Unfortunately I don't believe he's up to that task.Joel Rosenberg, Baltimore

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