Bittersweet Corruption

You might be surprised to find out that some bloggers aren't outraged at corruption in Afghanistan, and in some cases think it's a good thing. At Contentions, Max Boot says the United States doesn't need Karzai to root out corruption because that's what all those extra U.S. troops are there for. Boot also notes that Americans have had their fair share of corruption scandals throughout history. Barry Gewen agrees, and writes on Entanglements that most commentators complaining of Afghan malfeasance care more about withdrawing from Afghanistan than they do about reducing graft. And Gewen goes further: he says corruption can actually help us fight the war there because, in essence, U.S. commanders are hoping that Taliban fighters will be “corrupt enough to take payoffs to change sides.” David Rothkopf of Foreign Policy is thinking along the same lines, too. Washington is willing to put up with “Karzai’s crony state and its wannabe kleptocrats,” he writes, if it allows America to begin withdrawing from Afghanistan sooner. But Rothkopf isn’t happy about what he calls “a great U.S. tradition” and the “hidden, long-term costs of realpolitik."