TIME: Galbraith: How the Afghan Election Was Rigged

Time article, How the Afghan Election Was Rigged <read> by Peter W. Galbraith, formerly deputy special representative of the Secretary-General of the U.N. in Afghanistan

No one will ever know how Afghans voted in their country’s presidential elections on Aug. 20, 2009. Seven weeks after the polling, the U.N.-backed Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) is still trying to separate fraudulent tallies from ballots. In some provinces, many more votes were counted than were cast. E.U. election monitors characterize 1.5 million votes as suspect, which would include up to one-third of the votes cast for incumbent President Hamid Karzai. Once fraud occurs on the scale of what took place in Afghanistan, it is impossible to untangle.

Afghanistan’s fraudulent elections complicate President Obama’s job as he weighs a recommendation from General Stanley McChrystal, his top commander there, to send as many as 40,000 additional troops to support a beefed-up counterinsurgency strategy. But for that strategy to work, the U.S. needs a credible Afghan partner, which Afghanistan’s elections now seem unlikely to produce…

We are lucky to hear from Mr. Gailbrath.  Had he not been fired, he might have continued to keep quiet:

Unfortunately, I am unable to provide reassuring answers. Over the past four months, I served as the deputy head of the U.N. mission in Kabul and had a firsthand view of the fraud that plagued Afghanistan’s presidential vote. Each time I proposed actions to deal with it, Kai Eide, the head of the U.N. mission in Afghanistan, overruled me. Like any good subordinate, I respected my boss’s decision, but in private, I told him I thought he was making a mistake in downplaying the fraud. When the press learned of our disagreement (through no fault of ours), U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon removed me from my post.

I recommend reading the entire article, it is not that long.  This so called  ‘election’ shows an unbelievable disregard for integrity, a very thinly disguised fraud, and a superficial image of democracy.

We can have high degree of certainty that the Afghan elections were not credible.  How much worse is this than the uncertainty we often have in our own elections?  We need effective monitoring and reporting of all elections. Without effective monitoring and auditing we cannot have confidence in the leaders of our own democracy.

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