Afghanistan: Why we fight . . .

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Afghanistan Challenges for the Corruption Cup

by Paul Graham

Competition for the coveted Corruption Cup is intense, but Afghanistan is proving itself to be a real competitor.

And what, pray tell, is the Corruption Cup? Mainly a figment of my imagination at this point, but I think it could catch on.

Here’s the thing: every year, Transparency International measures perceived levels of public-sector corruption in various countries and compiles a Corruption Perception Index or CPI. The CPI is a composite index, drawing on different expert and business surveys. Countries that score ten are highly clean; countries that score zero are highly corrupt.

Transparency International has been doing this for a number of years. In 2007 it expanded the CPI to look at 180 countries. In 2008, Denmark, New Zealand and Sweden shared the highest, almost unbearably squeaky clean score at 9.3, followed immediately by Singapore at 9.2.

At the other end of the scale was Somalia at 1.0, slightly trailing Iraq and Myanmar at 1.3 and Haiti at 1.4.

However, these bad boys can’t afford to rest on their laurels or wallow in their troughs, if you will. Afghanistan is a serious contender when it comes to challenging for the Corruption Cup and is steadily gaining ground. In 2007, Afghanistan scored 1.8, and ranked an impressive 172 on the CPI. This year, it scored 1.5 and ranks even lower, a stunning 176 out of 180.

In the race to the bottom, Afghanistan is a force to be reckoned with.

Not for nothing did the Afghan Parliament, last year, expel reform-oriented MP Malalai Joya from Parliament for three years. She got their dander up when she called these warlords and drug lords, well, warlords and drug lords. And the Taliban, the government and the US are duking it out to see who can kill, imprison or harrass the most journalists. They show great promise, and NATO stands by to help.

Obama has promised more troops for Afghanistan, and Harper is determined to stay the course until 2011 (and longer if we are dumb enough to give him his majority — but I digress).

Can more war help Afghanistan win the Corruption Cup? Probably. Look what it has done for Iraq? And let’s not forget how we helped Haiti achieve its score when we helped the Americans turf Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the first honest leader Haiti had for decades.

Source: Paul S. Graham

1 comment for “Afghanistan: Why we fight . . .

  1. aesop
    December 21, 2010 at 1:35 am

    I hope everyone sees the biting irony in your cartoon.
    Everyone dumps on mohammedans.
    ‘Islamophobia’ is rife, and attacks are rising. Are they?
    Are they rising as a percentage of their presence in the population, or in some proportion to their total numbers?
    If a population contains 1,000 mohammedans, and there are two reported incidents of ‘islamophobia’ per year, then their number increases to 100,000, while the ‘others’ numbers holds steady, what will be the new number of reported incidents?
    a)2? b)20? c)200? or d)2,000?
    If there are a tiny percentage of less than cordial interactions between two groups, then increasing the number of interactions should increase the number of problems, not necessarily in a simple arithmetic progression. The simplest answer is c), which is proportional. If the newer arrivals live and work within their own homogeneous community, incidents might be a reduced percentage or even stay the same number.
    Also if that population doesn’t do or say things to annoy the others, but are seen as integrated and supportive of the status quo ante, the percentage reported incidents should fall, even if absolute numbers increase. Of course propagandists ‘pick’ which numbers support their viewpoint. Naturally.

    Conversely, what if that population chooses to broadcast its hatred of the other, even while being the newcomer? [Like those ‘religious’ leaders who wish to see mohammeds flag fly over Buckingham Palace and The White House.]
    You would expect the percentage AND total number of complaints to rise. Yes?

    And consider this, from the FBI:
    http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/hc2009/data/table_01.html, the source for this quote:

    The release of the latest FBI report on hate crimes this week adds more weight to the doubts raised about the mythical backlash against Muslims. The new statistics published on the U.S. Department of Justice website show that there were only 107 reported incidents of anti-Islamic hate crimes in the country during 2009. While each incident (not only actual crimes are reported, as the total published by the FBI includes all those reported or alleged without respect to whether or not the crime was proved to have occurred) is deplorable, this represents only 8 percent of all religious-based bias crimes and less than 2 percent of hate crimes tabulated last year.

    Even more to the point, the number of anti-Jewish hate crimes dwarfed again the number of anti-Islamic attacks, as they have every year since such statistics were first kept: 931 anti-Semitic incidents, compared with 107 anti-Islamic incidents, a ratio of better than 8 to 1. The same was true in 2008, when the figures were 1,013 anti-Jewish incidents to 105 anti-Muslim incidents. Indeed, even in 2001, the worst year for anti-Muslim hate crimes, there were still more than twice as many anti-Jewish incidents as those with anti-Islamic motivations. Throughout this period, the vast majority of hate crimes motivated by religion have been directed against Jews, not Muslims.

    Things are far worse in UK and France, which have much higher percentage mohammedan populations.

    A few places publish lower figures for antisemitism, like Russia and the Ukraine.

    Finally ‘islamoPHOBIA’ is such an odd term, coined by a bunch of old frats at the Runnymede Centre, in contempt of the truly historical event there: The signing of the Magna Carta.
    If one is afraid of crowds (literally ‘the market’), their agoraphobia is not directed AT anyone, and it’s NOT a pejorative term. But we are supposed to swallow this lefty propaganda, that an ‘islamophobe’ (pejorative), acting out his fear, is going to harm mohammedans? Besides ‘islam’ is a political system, with a ‘religious’ (and deadly) wing, not a person.
    If there were any logic in the pseudo term ‘islamophobia’, it would be the less euphonius ‘muslimophobia’.

    Has that made-up word been recognized by physicians, and published in the DSM-IV-TR: the current version?
    Just asking.

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