Never Trust a Man in a Cape

President Obama expects Afghan President Hamid Karzai—freshly legitimized by an election featuring fraud so massive that it led to a runoff from which his only remaining opponent recently withdrew, fearing more of the same—to crack down on official corruption. The New York Times reports that "the administration wants Mr. Karzai and the Afghan government to put into place an anticorruption commission to establish strict accountability for government officials at the national and provincial levels." How strict? Not very:

Some American officials and their European counterparts would like at least a few arrests of what one administration official called "the more blatantly corrupt" people in the Afghan government. 

Administration officials declined to provide the names of people they wanted to see arrested and acknowledged that such arrests were a long shot...

"A couple of high-profile heads on a platter would be nice," said one European diplomat involved in Afghanistan.

The Times notes that "the more blatantly corrupt" officials include "Mr. Karzai’s brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, a suspected player in the country’s booming illegal opium trade" and "one of Mr. Karzai’s running mates, Marshal Muhammad Qasim Fahim, a former defense minister who is also suspected of drug trafficking." So Obama and other Western leaders are hoping for, at best, a few token arrests, which they admit are unlikely to happen. Obama calls this "a 'new chapter' in the legitimacy of the Afghan government."

If our president were serious about reducing official corruption in Afghanistan, he might consider the role played by the prohibitionist drug policy that made illicit opium production the country's biggest industry. But despite shifting tactics, the Obama administration continues to wage the war on opium, which enriches and strengthens the Taliban insurgency even as it puts drug traffickers in positions of power. 

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  • ||

    The cape bashing around here is pure bullshit.

  • Ayn Rand||

    The cape is the most rational of outer garments.

    Striped cloaks such as the one in this photo, however, are worn only by mystical, whim-worshiping looters.

  • ||

    This is true. Though it must be said that striped capes are an abomination and must be destroyed.

  • Death Panelist||

    Although, it is quite slimming.

  • ||

    That is precisely why they must be burned. Who knows how many chubbies walk amongst us, camouflaged as normal people by their clever little striped capes?

  • BakedPenguin||

    SF, you must have hated The Incredibles.

  • ||

    With the fiery passion of a thousand main sequence suns.

  • ||

    There ya go, baggin' on good sci-fi again. Sheeeeeeesh.

  • ||

    I hope you fall into a black hole for eternity. At least from our reference frame.

  • ||

    You don't like The Incredibles? Dude, there is something seriously wrong with you. What happened, did some superhero deny you a sidekick job?

  • ||

    Let me riff on the joke, dude.

    I liked The Incredibles just fine, even if the Eden Mode stuff is the sort of broad humor that I detest. She Jar Jar Binks'd all her scenes

  • BakedPenguin||

    You got that it was a joke on Edith Head, Hitchcock's designer, right?

  • ||

    Of course, but I still didn't like it in an otherwise respectful take on superheroes. I'm surprised Robin Williams didn't do her voice.

  • ||

    Your didn't like Edna?

    Episiarch is right to be your arch enemy, because you are clearly a villain.

  • WWJGD||

    Without a cape, how else can the Libertarian Villian flamboyantly dash away as he cackles madly after he just sold a child an asbestos-laced cookie that was baked using sweatshop labor?

  • Ska||

    By twisting his Rollie Fingers moustache, duh.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    And a tap of the top hat with his cain.

  • ||

    The tuxedo coat-tails might serve in a pinch as a pseudo-cape nefarious swirl.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Keeping your monocle shined to reflect all light sources helps, too.

  • ||

    and his Abel too?

  • ||

    and his Abel too?

  • ||

    fucking threaded comments replying to the wrong fucking comment and doing it fucking twice!

  • creech||

    Asbestos laced cookies are fine, if you eat them. It is breathing asbestos fibers that causes the problem. Pipe fitters used to twist off a piece of asbestos boiler jacketing and eat it as a quick substitute for aspirin.

  • ||

    Interesting that the most blatantly corrupt officials are the ones who apparently support a free market in pain-killers. Go figure.

  • ||

    Nice.

  • ||

    Feel free to add scare quotes to that as you see fit.

  • ¢||

    That's a Cuddebackville Vo-Tech class of 1978 graduation robe, not a "cape."

  • ||

    Isn't it a bit comically ironic that a bunch of politicans from Chicago are lecturing the Afghans on how to stamp out corruption?

  • John Tagliaferro||

    That was my first reaction too.

  • ||

    To them, "corruption" is not giving da boss his "cut" of da loot.

  • ||

    They're not lecturing them on how to stamp out corruption. They're showing them how to pay lip service to stamping out corruption while increasing opportunities for such tenfold behind the scenes.

    Which is entirely appropriate for Chicago politicians to do.

  • ||

    The media has been fairly quiet about the resignation of Matthew Hoh, a man with a good amount of military/diplomatic experience, who recently concluded that our presense in Afghanistan is fueling the Taliban and other insurgents, that we have no reason for being there, that it would be better if we left.

  • Lord Jubjub||

    NPR did a full interview with him and let him have his full say.

  • Meta4||

    So did The News Hour on PBS.

  • ||

    Is that kind of talk still traitor talk?

    What happen to the we must fight them there so we don't have to fight them here mantra? Did that finally get old?

  • ||

    I would like to say... that is both too long to be a cape (i.e. it's a cloak) and not even that as it has sleeves, which neither a cape, cope, or cloak possess.

    That is a gown draped over his shoulders.

    "Never trust a man in a draped gown" is sentiment that I support.

  • ||

    I think it is a slanket.

  • ||

    I might go as far as to call it a mantle, but that's no cape.

  • ||

    It is his old college graduation gown.

  • ||

    Didn't he go to Harvard?

  • ||

    He looks like the Validictorian of the 2009 graduating class of the Kwisi Imfume School of Multicultural Social Justice in that picture.

  • Ska||

    And I thought it was this season's new fashion snuggie print, the Professor.

  • Meta4||

    I would like to say... that is both too long to be a cape (i.e. it's a cloak) and not even that as it has sleeves, which neither a cape, cope, or cloak possess.

    It's an Afghan Snuggy.

  • Meta4||

    Watch brotherben steel my Snuggy idea and think he can mask the fact he did by spelling it with an "ie" and posting it before I do...

  • ||

    If it's a Snuggie, he's wearing it backwards. Not that I'm in a position to lecture anyone about Snuggie fashion.

  • ||

    Maybe he just put his Snuggie on backwards?

  • ||

    He is a head of state. No way would he be wearing a cheap knock off. That is the real thing. It is a slanket.

  • ||

    It seems to me that man has long struggled to eschew the backless hospital smock, only to embrace it in microfleece form. And without a tie, no less.

    A de-evolution of society, to say the least.

  • ||

    My wife tells me that being a warm personal cacoon is of greater value than personal dignity. I don't see it.

  • ||

    See, this is where some people using the reply feature and others not using it gets us in trouble. You think you're making a creative, new comment but then you scroll down and see that some nonconformist has already made it below the replies.

  • ||

    Obama calls this "a 'new chapter' in the legitimacy of the Afghan government."

    And Honduras remains a pariah.
    *sigh*

  • ||

    The picture was taken during finger-painting time, obviously. All protective smocks go back in the craft closet before naptime.

  • ||

    It might just be an effort to conceal his poorly conditioned obliques.

  • Ska||

    So it follows Chuck Shumer ordered one for his man tits?

  • ||

    Two sports bras layered fix it. Although they might become back-tits from the pressure.

  • Ska||

    Ah, a little condition known as TOB (tits on the back). The rare pair of tits you don't want to play with.

  • Urkobold™||

    FOOLS! IT'S A SERAPE. HE'S THE PRESIDENT WITH NO NAME.

    STRANGE. THE URKOBOLD HEARD THIS ODD TUNE AFTER HE TYPED THAT.

  • ||

    That's no serape! I hope Navajo fashion students gnaw your taint to mush with their powerful mandibles!

  • Hugh Akston||

    "A couple of high-profile heads on a platter would be nice," said one European diplomat involved in Afghanistan.

    To be fair, Jacob, European diplomats have been saying this very thing for the last eleven centuries.

  • Xeones||

    Being president means never having to reconsider the role played by the prohibitionist drug policy that made illicit opium production the country's biggest industry.

  • ||

    The photo was taken last Saturday. Karzai dressed as a Turkmenistani head of state for Halloween. If you were local, you would think this is hilarious.

  • ||

    When will Jacob Sullum retract his cape slur?

    How much more of his bigotry and poor grasp of fashion history must we endure?

  • John Tagliaferro||

    Reason will never kneel to your demands.

  • ||

    That's capism, straight up.

  • ||

    I demand, I say, I demand satisfaction!

  • John Tagliaferro||

    In that case I call your satasfiction and raise to crusifiction.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    Let me try that again:

    In that case I call your satisfaction and raise to crucifixion.

  • ||

    Crusifiction? What's that, fiction written while on cruise? My English is so weak.

  • ||

    Slash fic about Tom Cruise and Maverick.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    I like that idea. Want to collaborate on the treatment?

  • ||

    No. I have to many disturbed fans as is.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    My only disturbed one seems to have FINALLY gone away to more fertile bunny boiling ground. I do not envy you.

  • Butts Wagner||

    Can you feel that?....

    Oh shit....

    OOOH AAHHH AAHHH AAHHHH AAHHH

  • ||

    There's a reason why his co-pilot was called "goose."

  • John Tagliaferro||

    I remember a discussion that Top Gun was gay from someplace.

  • ||

    It is pretty much a tribute to alternative lifestyles. The vollyball scene is the first mainstream gay porn ever done.

  • ||

    And the female love interest was a lesbian.

    And I've had my doubts about Anthony Edwards for years.

  • ||

    I once heard an urban myth about a "friend of a friend" who was a flight attendent on some chartered flight where McGillis and Jody Foster got it on in a small bed on the plane. I would imagine it was an urban legend. But damn it is a good one.

  • ||

    I don't see it being that much of a stretch. McGillis has come out of the closet and Foster has lived openly with her partner for years, even if she is not a "public" lesbian.

  • ||

    I did hear it years ago in the 90s long before McGillis ever came out and Foster was an open lesbian. At the time, they were not two obvious celbrities to choose for such a myth. So maybe it is true.

  • ||

    Its truthy. Which is plenty good enough for me.

  • ||

    Urban ledgend? Or a seemingly real experience until a member of the flight crew woke him up?

  • ||

    Dude, the flight attendant was an active participant!

  • ||

    The reason I know this is that a friend of mine was conceived on that flight. Yes, she's the bastard daughter of Foster and McGillis.

  • ||

    You guys are no fun. It is the first and only urban legend that was actually worth believing. Thinking about a younger McGillis and Foster getting it on is a hell of a lot more pleasent than contemplating some guy waking up without a kidney.

  • ||

    Very true, I have to apologize for my above comment.

  • Kolohe||

    President Obama expects Afghan President Hamid Karzai—freshly legitimized by an election featuring fraud so massive that it led to a runoff from which his only remaining opponent recently withdrew

    Most of the media using this same phrasing but it misses an important fact.

    The run-off mechanism was *always* there. If no first round finisher got more than 50% there was going to be a runoff.

    So what actaully happened is:
    1) Karzai declared victory with greater than 50% of the vote.
    2) Fraudulant ballots were disqualified reducing Karzai's vote total to less than 50% of the vote*
    3) Run-off scheduled from this new vote total on *pre-existing* plan.
    4) Karzai disputes that he should have so many ballots disqualified; Adbullah agrees to new total, but thinks some members of the IEC should change.
    5) Karzai finally acquieces to a run-off and implicitly to the vote totals.
    6) Abdullah doesn't get the concessions he asked for and withdraws. *But* most independent polling always had shown and still that Karzai would have got more votes than Abdullah, because Karzai gets a vast majority of the southern ethnic Pasto vote (40% of the population), while Abdullah gets a narrower majority of the urban and northern ethnic vote.
    Abudullah withdrawing is a good choice for him, because he would have lost anyway, even in a totally fair election.

    *not saying these new numbers were perfect, but they were more in line with pre-election polling. Abdullah had some disqualified too because of alleged fraud.

  • Drake||

    What it really boils down to is Karzai is no longer the American choice for the friendly Afgan puppet so he has to go. The media follows suit, as always. You don't play ball, you go from hero to villain overnight. IOW, American foreign policy as usual.

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