Michael Ubaldi, February 10, 2003.
Not only is Hamed Karzai a unifying force against an ineffably chaotic societal impulse in Afghanistan, but he's humble enough to accept the idea of term limits - eager, in fact. A civilian Washington with teeth and threads, eh? My hope is that the State Department, fearful of the executive alternatives possible, do not dissuade the sense of duty of the point man for democracy in a troubled land.
The men vying for leadership roles aren't particularly appealing: Mohammed Zahir Shah, the former king, is physically frail; Sheik Hadi Shinwari of the supreme court is the fellow who pulled the plug on cable television and is just starry-eyed for Islamic law (read: theocracy); Burhanuddin Rabbani is sending out signals for running, although he bears the distinction of watching Afghanistan dissolve into civil war in the early 1990s.
And, of course, hierarchical oversights abound like the fact that Karzai has four vice-presidents; one of them is obviously more savvy than the other three and has assumed duties of a primary.
On one hand, I can shake my head and blame Afghanistan's present confusion and democratic frailty on the tepid resolve of Baby Boomers - conservative or otherwise - who are apparently embarrassed to even attempt a connection between a foreign culture and the most robust, universally inclined constitution ever conceived: ours. If we've gone through the trouble of implementing military will, why shy away from confident domestic guidance?
That's another topic for later. What matters in Afghanistan is that prospective voters will have a choice. If least two legitimate candidates will see an election to a ballot box, Afghanis are one step closer to a securely free nation.