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By ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, former U. S. senator

NOV. 5, 2009 -- We learned after ten years and 58,000 dead in Vietnam that you can't force feed democracy. And now corrupt foreigners can't force feed a corrupt democracy in Afghanistan.


After eight years and 833 dead in Afghanistan, the United States mission boils down to that described in a New York Times editorial of November 3rd, entitled "President Karsai's Second Term:"

(a) Mr. Karsai must prove that after "seven years of mismanagement and corruption … he is deserving of [his people's] trust."

(b) Mr. Karsai "must appoint a new group of ministers and provincial governors who are committed to rebuilding their country, not enriching themselves."

(c) "The Interior Ministry, which oversees the corruption-plagued Afghan National Police, must be reformed."

(d) "The agriculture, energy and private development agencies all [get] better leadership."

(e) The Afghan people need "to see their government working to protect them and improve their lives…."

"We can't ask GIs to lose their arms and legs, even life itself, for this mission.


-- Ernest F. Hollings

(f) Mr. Karsai must "reach out to members of the opposition, choosing competent technocrats for senior jobs."

(g) Mr. Karsai must "break ties with his most unsavory cronies."

(h) Mr. Karsai must demand that Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostrum "stand trial for his crimes."

(i) Mr. Karsai finally cuts "his ties with his brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, whom American officials say is a big player in the opium trade."

(j) "Washington must also cut its ties with the younger Mr. Karzai … [who] received regular payments from the CIA for the past eight years."

(k) As Mr. Karsai kills the Taliban, he must "work with the Americans to come up with a strategy to try to woo midlevel Taliban leaders in from the cold."

(l) Mr. Karsai and the U. S. "need to quickly develop a plan to
accelerate training of the Afghan security forces."

We can't ask GIs to lose their arms and legs, even life itself, for this mission. OUT!

Senator Hollings of South Carolina served 38 years in the United States Senate, and for many years was Chairman of the Commerce, Space, Science & Transportation Committee. He is the author of the recently published book, Making Government Work (University of South Carolina Press, 2008).

© 2009, Ernest F. Hollings. All rights reserved. Contact us for republication permission.

About Fritz Hollings

Ernest F. Hollings served the public for 56 years -- 38 years in the United States Senate and as South Carolina's governor, lieutenant governor and a member of the S.C. House of Representatives.

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