Nobody won. Lots of people lost, though.
Including me. In August, I wrote two whole columns about the Afghanistan election; in the process, depleting my once vast stockpile of Afghanistan-related jokes, puns and nutty fun facts.
Now there’s going to be a runoff election because stupid President Hamid Karzai and his cronies are so incompetent, they couldn’t even rig an election properly. But what can I say about it now? I’m stumped. I can talk about the election some more, but I need jokes. It says on my resume “humor column about American foreign policy and world affairs.” I have to tell jokes.
So here’s my favorite joke of all time. Nothing to do with Afghanistan. I’m just trying to give the people what they want.
Q: What’s brown and sticky?
A: A stick.
I never get tired of that one. Or this one:
“A man goes to the doctor and says, ‘Doc, I’ve been having this strange pain in my knee.’ The doctor says, ‘Do you masturbate?’ The man, a bit confused, answers, ‘Um, yeah.’ The doctor says, ‘It’s great, isn’t it?’”
If we ever meet, make me tell you that joke. I have some good facial expressions to go with it.
On to Afghanistan.
Aug. 20’s presidential election there was a disaster, even by that country’s relatively high standard of disastrousness.
Beginning on election day, and continuing for days after, media reports of massive election fraud by Karzai and his supporters were widespread and frequent. The primary mechanism for fraud appears to have been the stuffing of ballot boxes at polling stations in parts of the country too dangerous for international election monitors to visit. Tip to would-be election fraudsters: When a candidate performs spectacularly well in an unmonitored area, but only so-so in monitored areas, this is an obvious clue fraud took place.
When Karzai’s government reported last month that he’d won the election in a landslide (55 percent of the vote, vs. just 28 percent for opposition candidate Dr. Abdullah Abdullah), the collective reaction inside and outside Afghanistan was “bullshit.” Pardon the cursing, but I don’t know the Pashto, Dari, Uzbek or Turkmen words for incredulousness.
People who cried bullshit at the results were given an official imprimatur on Oct. 19 when the United Nations-backed Electoral Complaints Commission released a report cataloging much of the votey-votey-naughty-naughty.
The report cites “clear and convincing evidence of fraud” across Afghanistan. Through an audit of 600 of the most serious complaints, the commission concludes all ballots from 210 polling places should be tossed. The BBC reports the commission is basically saying approximately 1 million of the votes cast were either fake, or too tainted to be considered valid. I feel really badly for the guy who empties the recycling bin at the vote-counting office.
Reports quoting Karzai’s inner circle say Karzai’s convinced that Western powers are trying to thwart his re-election bid. This is also bullshit. The U.S., U.N. and EU love Karzai. They put him in power and want him there. They’re just ticked off that he’s such a ham-fisted election thief. If you think having a ham-fist is bad in the U.S., believe me it’s an even bigger insult in a Muslim country.
When the Western public sees Karzai as a cheater, it makes it much harder for Western leaders to send troops and money to Afghanistan. That’s why Obama & Co. are so annoyed.
So they sent Sen. John Kerry to Karzai last week and got him to agree to accept the following result: 48 percent of the vote for Karzai, and nearly 32 percent for Abdullah. This means there will be a runoff election between the two men on Nov. 7.
Kerry is believed to have strong-armed Karzai by telling him he couldn’t expect U.S. troops to support his government any longer unless he agreed to hold a runoff. I also heard a rumor that Kerry threatened to make Karzai watch a one-hour DVD compilation of Kerry’s Senate speeches if he didn’t give in to American demands. I have trouble believing an honorable man like Kerry would stoop that low, however.
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