Dazed and Confused by Karzai

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“Does the U.S. Government have any reason to believe that President Karzai is like, hiding out in the basement of the palace doing bong hits or, you know, something worse?”

This question came during Wednesday’s State Department press briefing, when spokesman P.J. Crowley was grilled about the Afghan president’s “flighty” and “erratic” behavior lately, which has included blaming ex-UN diplomat Peter Galbraith and others for orchestrating the fraud that marred last fall’s presidential election. It was in the context of Karzai’s recent remarks that Galbraith coyly suggested in a TV interview earlier this week that, according to “palace insiders,” the Afghan president “has a certain fondness for some of Afghanistan’s most profitable exports.” The Karzai-as-dope-fiend meme took off from there, temporarily reducing the high-stakes tensions between the Obama and Karzai administration’s to the plot of a Harold and Kumar movie.

Sure, US officials have been dazed and confused (apologies, I couldn’t resist) by Karzai’s odd conduct, but, Crowley says, there’s no reason to believe his anti-Western-paranoia is drug-related:

He is the president of Afghanistan. He’s been significantly engaged with us on a regular basis. The Secretary talked to him Friday. Ambassador Eikenberry talked to him on Friday. He was with General McChrystal and Ambassador Eikenberry over the weekend. We have no information to support the charges that Peter Galbraith has leveled.

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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