SecState and SecDef: Happily doing Karzai's bidding
More on the outrageous story about Hamid Karzai "banning" Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA) from entering Afghanistan last week from Wolf Blitzer at CNN. It wasn't just SecState Hillary who acted as Client Karzai's agent. SecDef Panetta was a willing party, too. Of course, in this iteration of events, Karzai's role isn't spelled out. In the original Guardian story, Hillary received a call from Karzai and pressed his wishes on to Rohrbacher.
An "obviously I'm upset" Wolf Blitzer got more outrageous details of the story in an interview with Rohrbacher on CNN a few days ago. It seems that once the congressional delegation of six members headed by Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) arrived in Dubai where a US military plane was supposed to fly them to Kabul, Gohmert received a phone call from SecDef Panetta who told him the military plane wouldn't take off if Rohrbacher was aboard.
The mind reels. Not only does Rohrbacher as a US Representative have every right and responsibility to undertake such a tour of the Afghan battlespace in which the American taxpayer is spending $2 billion every week, he is also a senior of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and chairman of the House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. He needs to go.
Not to worry, though. With Panetta's instructions in mind, Rohrbacher decided he would fly commercial to Kabul.
That's when Hillary stepped in. According to Rohrbacher, Hillary then called him up in Dubai to give him a song and dance about all the "minicrises" she has had to deal with in Afghanistan, (pesky First Amendment-protected) Koran burnings, soldiers urinating on Taliban corpses (meaningless incident), the (unique) soldier who went crazy and killed civilians. Afghan murders of NATO troops, multiple amputations from bomb woundss, failure of COIN/nation-building -- apparently not a concern! She feared that the visit by Rohrbacher, an elected US official known critical of Klepto-Karzai, would become one more such crisis.
Specifically, Hillary told Rohrbacher that she was afraid "he [Karzai]would create a crisis" out of his visit.
Interesting. Does he do that often? May we infer that the mini-crises she lists were similarly Karzai-created?
Clearly, Karzai -- the man whose power depends on our own, such as it is -- is calling our tune in A-stan. In the original Guardian story,. Karzai's active role in this incident is spelled out by Rohrbacher's press gal:
Tara Olivia Setmayer, communications director for Rohrbacher, said: "Karzai told the state department he was not welcome and secretary Clinton personally conveyed that sentiment to Mr Rohrabacher and asked him not to continue on to Kabul with his fellow members.
I'm not sure if Rohrbacher left that bit out in his interview with Wolf on purpose or by mistake, but it's key. What I wonder if whether Karzai specifically threatened Clinton with another crisis -- and to what extent his role in the other "minicrises" is known by Uncle Sam and even openly acknowledged.
Wolf was in high dudgeon and concluded by telling Rohrbacher the other Reps. should have gone home in protest. He's right.