Thursday, August 11, 2011

Karzai's CNN Interview

During an interview with CNN's Fared Zakeria in February, 2009, President Karzai was asked about his brother's involvement in the narcotic trade in Afghanistan. Karzai paused and then stated that each time he protests the killing of civilians in Afghanistan by American forces, the next day the American media goes after him with these kinds of allegations to shut him up! Is this how Karzai views American media? Is this the way the American media is? My understanding of the American media is quite the opposite. During the coverage of the Abu Ghraib prison abuse in Iraq, the American media did not go after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki when he protested the abuse in that prison. The American media is not looking for ways to defend US foreign policy. In fact, quite to the contrary, the US media can be criticized for being too critical of US foreign policy.

The point is not that Mr. Karzai's understanding of American media is wrong. The point is that Karzai made this absurd claim as a head of state on an internationally televised interview that the rest of the Islamic world—and many more people who are critical of anything that America does—are tuned in to. Karzai's ridiculous claims only serve to fuel the hatred because they place doubt in the minds of millions of people around the world, or worse, cause them to believe that perhaps Americans knowingly and purposely are killing civilians in Afghanistan. People around the world tend to view Karzai as an American guy, or at least as an insider friendly to America, and they will very likely take him seriously on his accusations of American troops deliberately killing civilians. 

The US General in Afghanistan, in a television interview in September, 2009, said, "Our goal is to win Afghan skeptical minds and hearts." Why then do we not try to win at least Karzai's "skeptical mind and heart?" And each time Karzai claims that our troops are killing innocent Afghan civilians, how many more Afghan hearts and minds become skeptical! Is this the kind of guy we should be spending millions of dollars to install as a leader in Afghanistan? I know with certainty that American troops are ten times more careful than Afghans not to kill civilians.

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