Thursday, September 28, 2006

The two U.S. officials of Afghani descent, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and President Hamid Karzai, are among the most snappy dressers in the political arena. Khalilzad's style is a standard suit and tie look, but he is always so well-put-together and well-groomed that I can almost smell his excessive cologne through the t.v. screen. And Hamid Karzai, he always looks like he just stepped off the fashion runway: he has a great eye for fabric and design, and the color green, which I take is his favorite, is particularly flattering on him.

But poor Hamid Karzai is looking a bit sallow these days, and I can certainly see why:

The U.S. Military is reporting a tripling of Taliban attacks in Eastern Afghanistan, Taliban attacks on government officials are on the rise and are getting more and more brazen, such as the assassination earlier this week of Ama Jan, the long time women's rights activist and a provincial director for the Ministry of Women's Affairs, and now Karzai is having such a huge spat with Musharraf, that even their mutual sponsor Mr. Bush can't seem able to mediate.

In fairness to Karzai, Pakistan deserves a lot of scrutiny for the unrest in Afghanistan, and Karzai is helpless to do anything anyway. I mean how can a guy who still has to use "American bodyguards because he can't trust his own people" have a substantive leadership role in his country?

The more important question is why Musharaff (bi-sharaf) is not being held accountable for what is going on. Why is it that U.S. officials feel fine with throwing around groundless accusations about Iran and the daily massacres in Iraq, but the obvious link between Pakistan (or perhaps more accurately, Pakistani territory) and the rise of the Taliban is only given the mildest lip service?

The double standard applied to U.S. allies is not only appalling, but it also totally undermines U.S. credibility. Saudi Arabia is another obvious and over-used example, so today I'll leave them alone, but what about some other U.S. ally, say the Philippines? Have you ever heard any U.S official condemn the political assassinations in the Philippines? How many institutes and websites and radio stations are funded by the U.S. and/or the Netherlands to follow and fight political repression in the Philippines? I venture to say zero for the Philippines, but I can name off-the-cuff at least 10 examples of these types of institutes/radios/websites that are oh-so-concerned with Iranians (and yet they love iranians so much, they never take a stance against sanctions or war on iran).

There are a lot of lessons for Iranians in these double standards, not the least of which is to link our social justice struggles with those carried out in seemingly faraway places, like the Philippines.

As for Karzai and Musharraf, I suggest that the latter refrain from making uncouth comments concerning Canadians when he is being interviewed by the Canadian press; and Karzai, well, he should consider either a dab of blush or a foundation with a rosy undertone to give him the appearance of good health and humor because I'm afraid he's not going to be feeling well on his own for awhile.