Obama Administration officials were crowing today after the announcement that Afghan President Hamid Karzai had, after days of heated negotiations, grudgingly agreed to a runoff vote, to be held November 7.
President Obama cheered the move as “an important step forward” and insisted that it strengthened the Afghan government. US officials were careful not to mention that the reason for the runoff was that over a million of Karzai’s votes were found to be fraudulent.
The massive fraud, and attempts by pro-Karzai elements at the United Nations to cover up its full extent, have been a matter of no small dispute in the months since August’s vote. Karzai continues to maintain that the fraud is a myth, and that the international media has conspired against him to “defame” his victory.
Though there are bound to be questions about how well the nation can throw together another round of voting in two and a half weeks, and whether this vote will be any cleaner than the last, perhaps the most meaningful impact will be eliminating the Obama Administration’s excuse for delaying its public announcement of exactly what level of escalation it intends to pursue in the war.