What planet are these guys living on?, Re: Karzai confirms report of cash payments from Iran, BBC News Website, October 26, 2010

Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai has stated that his office regularly receives bags of cash containing millions of dollars from the government of Iran and has been doing so for years. The money is given covertly, no records are kept and it doesn’t show up on a balance sheet anywhere. The Iranians are paying it to further their interests in Afghanistan, which are diametrically opposed to those of the United States and the West.

The Americans did not know of this arrangement until Karzai himself revealed it at a news conference the other day.

Iran’s immediate response was to categorically deny that any payments had ever taken place, calling claims that they had “ridiculous and insulting”. This of course effectively branded Karzai as a liar.

America’s immediate response was to express concern about the payments and Iran’s efforts to advance it’s agenda in Afghanistan. It urged Iran to “play a more positive role” in the country, saying “(Iranian officials) have a responsibility just like all their neighbours to try to have a positive influence on the formation of a government there, and to ensure that Afghanistan is not a country where terrorists can find a safe harbour, or where attacks can be planned on their soil.”

My immediate response upon hearing America’s reaction was “What planet are these guys living on?” Don’t they know that Iran sees the U.S. as it’s mortal enemy and that it has spent the 31 years since the Shah was overthrown doing everything it can to bring America to it’s knees? Don’t they realize that Iran’s goal in Afghanistan is to force the Americans and the West to leave and to establish it’s suzerainty there once they do? Don’t they know that there is no chance whatsoever of Iran acceding to their wishes and changing it’s behaviour and that expressions of concern and entreaties to act differently are completely pointless?

Obviously not. What planet are these guys living on indeed?

These aren’t the only questions which naturally arise.

Why did Karzai choose to reveal the payments in the first place? What was he trying to achieve? Was he trying to embarass the Americans? The Iranians? If so, why? Was it just a clumsy attempt to get the Americans to give him money under the table like the Iranians had? What was he giving them in return for the payments? What else is he hiding from the United States? If he’s willing to collude with Iran like this what else is he willing to do? Can he be trusted or depended on at all?

Why did the Iranians deny that they were making the payments, knowing that this contradicted Karzai? What exactly were they receiving in return for them? What else are they doing to curry favour with Karzai? To subvert the U.S. and the West? Where else do their tentacles reach? Are they doing things Karzai doesn’t know about? Is their military taking some sort of hidden role against America and NATO?

How could the Americans have not known about the payments? Did they in fact know about them and are refusing to admit it? Why would they do that? If they are hiding the fact that they knew, what else might they be hiding? If they really didn’t know, what does that tell us about their intelligence capabilities? Are they allowing political considerations to govern their conduct of the war, thereby placing American and NATO soldiers lives in danger? Are they willing to keep Karzai in power at all costs? Do they really think he will change his behaviour? That the Iranians will change theirs? How can we possibly bring the war to a successful conclusion if things like this go on, whether we know about them or not?

None of this inspires much confidence does it? All it really does is give us one more example of how intractable the problems in Afghanistan really are and one more indication of our folly and arrogance in thinking we can overcome history, religion and culture, force or coerce Afghanistan into the twenty-first century and protect ourselves at the same time.

The original question bears repeating. What planet are these guys living on?

Actually, there are three more related questions I can think of before closing. This is a scandal of the highest order and yet it has received little or no play in the mainstream media. Why not? Are the mainstream media conspiring to keep this story out of the public domain in order to avoid embarrassing President Obama on the eve of the mid-term elections? If that is the case, have any Democrats, perhaps even the President, had a role in this?

Just wondering.

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