Monday, February 28, 2011

Kabul Bank Bailout

It's no secret that Our Friends in Afghanistan are blatantly, shamelessly, and thoroughly corrupt. Last fall, just one more example of Afghan public corruption hit (with minimal impact) the US news media. I am embarrassed to say that while my rage meter certainly registered, my soul, at the time, was too deadened to support even a moderately angry blog post.

Now I'm just sitting here groaning. According to a report by NPR, the USofA is likely to take on a bailout of Kabul Bank, which got itself in trouble by lending money to the brothers of both Afghan president Hamid Karzai and vice-president Mohammed Fahim, along with other well-connected individuals. None of those borrowers seem to have any noteworthy ambition to pay those loans back, so the ordinary Afghan depositor will lose most of his savings unless somebody steps in to prop up the bank.

Guess who is expected to step in? (If you guessed anybody other than the American taxpayer, you were wrong.)

Even if we weren't mired in deficit and debt, propping up the Karzai government — in any way — is pure and simple stupidity. In the context of our total debt, an extra billion may seem like chump change — but it's a billion given away to criminals. Okay, they may be our criminals, but they still belong in jail, not in overpriced US condominiums.

Excuse me, Mr. President, while I stick my fingers down my throat. Since your choice seems to be between bailing out some more thieves and pulling out of Afghanistan, and since I have 99% certainty regarding which choice you will make, I'm feeling violently ill.

No comments: