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In Bed With Warlords

Author: Walter Russell Mead, Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy
November 2, 2009
The Daily Beast

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As news stories go, it's not much.† As a window into the American soul, it's more interesting.

The New York Times story Wednesday on the "revelation" that Ahmed Wali Karzai, brother of Afghanistan's embattled president Harmid Karzai, is of the "dog bites man" variety: prominent Afghan warlord behaving as prominent Afghan warlords behave.

Amazingly, he's involved in drug trafficking and he's getting money, allegedly, from the CIA.

Amazingly, in a country that's been involved in chaotic civil and international conflicts for thirty years, the people who have scrambled to the top of the bloody heap are unsavory.

And, equally amazingly, American officials desperately working in this wretched country to stave off military defeat and political collapse find themselves cutting dirty deals with nasty people.

The shock and the pain and the hand-wringing are fascinating to observe.† Is there a thinking person in the United States who didn't realize at some level a long time ago that there were "dark forces" in our Afghan coalition?† Did somebody really think we were working with the Boy Scouts and the League of Women Voters over there?

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