"President Hamid Karzai effectively secured a second term Sunday when his only challenger dropped out of the race, and the Obama administration said it was prepared to work with the man it has previously criticized to combat corruption and confront the Taliban insurgency. President Barack Obama has been waiting for a new government in Kabul to announce whether he will send tens of thousands of new troops to Afghanistan, where the war has intensified. October was the deadliest month of the eight-year war for U.S. forces. Now the country will likely be led for the next five years by a president chosen in an extremely flawed election."
The Obama administration has done more to destroy Karzai's reputation than any of his enemies. And, now, we expect him to be our ally in the fight against the Taliban. This story is not over, and it will not end well.
By the way - - can we once and for all agree that moderate, honest leaders with a firm belief in democracy do not win elections in this region of the world, and maybe we need to stop insisting on elections as step one of our reform efforts? It seems silly to insist on elections to be won by Hamas (in Gaza), or Iran's allies (in Iraq), or a drug dealing warlord (in Afghanistan).