The election in Afghanistan

Not a good start.

If we hadn’t been rushing to get the Afghani election done in time for our election, do you think someone might have thought of using indelible ink?

My guess, which is worth exactly what you paid for it, is that Karzai wasn’t actually trying to cheat by having his folks vote more than once. After all, he hardly needed to bother, did he, with the American Ambassador acting as his virtual campaign manager? The most striking fact about the election, it seems to me, is that in the run-up to it all the tension was about whether the voting would happen rather than about who would win.

The fact that all the other candidates called for a mid-day boycott of the vote says either that (1) they disagree with me about vote-rigging; or (2) they were looking for an excuse to back out because they knew they couldn’t win and wanted to deny Karzai a triumph at the polls. Neither theory says anything encouraging about the future of Afghan democracy.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com