Wednesday, February 09, 2011

How could I have forgotten to include Tom Tomorrow's take on the U.S. Right's take on Egypt?


[Don't forget to click to enlarge.]

"In Washington, a State Department spokesperson revealed that the U.S was actively searching for a replacement for Mr. Mubarak, 'but we don’t want to use the same headhunting firm that found Karzai.'"

by Ken

It was the Tom Tomorrow strip that emboldened me to write about the situation in Egypt last night. And speaking of Karzai, as Andy Borowitz just was, I thought it might be fun -- just as a reminder of how spectacularly well we Americans do nation-building -- to juxtapose the very end of Dexter Filkins' "Letter From Kabul: The Afghan Bank Heist" in the current New Yorker, a close-up look at some of that famous corruption in Karzai's Afghanistan, which always seems to lead right up to the doorstep of the president, what with his brother's well-established involvement.
IIn February, 2008, Joseph Biden, then a senator, arrived with two colleagues at the Presidential palace for a dinner with Karzai. Biden got right to the point, urging Karzai to address the corruption in his government. In a fashion later described as bordering on the surreal, Karzai denied that graft was a serious issue in Afghanistan and changed the subject. Biden persisted. Karzai offered Biden plates of lamb and rice; Biden pressed his host about corruption. Finally, Biden threw his napkin on the table and stood up. "This dinner is over," he said, and walked out.

Last month, Vice-President Biden returned to Kabul, and, according to Afghans with knowledge of the visit, this time the two leaders got along splendidly. They had talked on the phone before Biden’s arrival, to smooth the way. Biden thanked Karzai for his efforts. Their meeting, originally scheduled to be brief, went on for more than an hour, officials at the American Embassy said.

Afterward, Biden and Karzai stood before a group of American and Afghan reporters. They took no questions. Instead, Biden read a prepared statement making clear what America intended to do in Afghanistan and, more important, not to do. He turned and faced President Karzai.

"Let me say it plainly, Mr. President: It is not our intention to govern or to nation-build," Biden said.

"Wonderful," Karzai said.

And the two men walked out of the room. ♦

I was groping for something to say when President Karzai rescued me. Wonderful!

Yes, just wonderful.

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