December 7, 2004


Afghans take giant step forward (STEPHEN GRAHAM, December 7, 2004, Chicago Sun Times)

Hamid Karzai's inauguration as Afghanistan's first popularly elected president opens a new chapter in the battle to rescue this impoverished country, which became a haven for international terrorism and now risks turning into a narco-state.

Karzai is to be sworn in today in the capital's war-scarred former royal palace in front of 150 foreign guests, including Vice President Dick Cheney, the highest-ranking American official to visit Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also will be on hand.

Afghanistan's red, black and green flag has been hung from lampposts in downtown Kabul, a commemorative blue stamp featuring a triumphant-looking Karzai has been issued, and Tuesday's proceedings will be shown live on national television -- rickety power supplies permitting. [...]

Some 3 million Afghan refugees displaced by more than two decades of warfare have returned home, and women and girls are back in jobs and schools from which they were barred under the previous regime. The economy also shows signs of recovery.

[I]t would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the People of the United States, a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes: and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success, the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own; nor those of my fellow-citizens at large, less than either. No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency. And in the important revolution just accomplished in the system of their United Government, the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities, from which the event has resulted, cannot be compared with the means by which most Governments have been established, without some return of pious gratitude along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage. These reflections, arising out of the present crisis, have forced themselves too strongly on my mind to be suppressed. You will join with me I trust in thinking, that there are none under the influence of which, the proceedings of a new and free Government can more auspiciously commence.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 7, 2004 10:19 AM

"Karzai is to be sworn in today"

Not according to NPR. He is being installed.

Posted by: Uncle Bill at December 7, 2004 12:34 PM

"Karzai is to be sworn in today"

Not according to NPR. They say he is being installed.

Posted by: Uncle Bill at December 7, 2004 12:38 PM


Posted by: Uncle Bill at December 7, 2004 12:39 PM