Biting the hand that feeds you

On Tuesday of this last week I was asked to be a guest again on the BBC’s World Have Your Say radio program. A show that I have been on more times than I can count. Most of the time it is about Afghanistan and last week was no different.

With Karzai coming into the US last Friday to meet with the President with a beggar’s hand and a slapping hand, they decided to call. They asked me if I had an opinion on him coming into town asking for more money at the same time while he is blaming us for all his country’s woes. They knew darn well I had an opinion and I was more than willing to share it.

I used to be a fan of Karzai a very long time ago, but that respect was lost as I watched him get drunk with power. It is one thing for him to shoot off at the mouth to his own people in order to look tough but something else when he starts talking smack to Americans. I don’t know who he thinks he is, but we have a saying in the US that says “never bite the hand that feeds you”.

Hamid Karzai, who will meet Barack Obama, wants Washington to stump up for planes, helicopters, heavy weapons and other advanced military equipment for Afghanistan‘s still-shaky armed forces. He also wants more aid money to be channelled through ministries rather than spent by western aid agencies.

So when you come asking for something you really should also slam the country and government you want free stuff from.

Karzai’s government in turn has accused the west of fuelling corruption and waste in the way it spends money in Afghanistan. The finance minister, Omar Zakhilwal, is pushing for more money to be put straight through the government budget to be spent by ministries like education and health, rather than channelled through foreign aid organisations.

“We believe that the way the US money is spent here, there’s a lot of waste, particularly money spent through contractors and outside sources,” Zakhilwal told the Wall Street Journal before the visit. Much of the aid cash flowed back to the US through “big consultant salaries and overheads”, he added.

So it is obvious that besides being drunk with power he is infected with stupidity. If he thinks that he is going to stand any chance of convincing an American people and Congress of continuing to give more money to his grotesquely corrupt government after giving them money and blood for the last 11 1/2 years, then he should really try to suck up a little bit.

Karzai has never stepped up to the plate to make his country truly take over the security and running the country the way it should have be. 11 1/2 years ago the SF team ODA574 helped escort Karzai into the country and keep him alive. 11 1/2 years and Karzai hasn’t been able to lead his citizens to truly stand up and care for their country. Even with billions in free money and the assistance of a huge coalition of countries, many of which gave their up their own son’s and daughters.

I think it is clear the reality is that Karzai is NOT the leader of Afghanistan or even the “Mayor of Kabul” for that matter. He needs to keep his mouth shut, take himself back to Afghanistan and do the country a favor, resign.

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