AFTER ENDURING Soviet occupation, civil war and rule by a medieval-minded Islamic militia, millions of Afghans lined up at polling stations yesterday for the first free election in their country's history. This was an extraordinary event, the more so because it happened in spite of concerted efforts by the Taliban militia and its al Qaeda allies to prevent it. Thanks in part to U.S., NATO and Afghan forces and in part to the remarkable determination of Afghan citizens to launch their democracy, the enemy campaign failed. The turnout percentage for the presidential vote may rival that of the U.S. presidential election.
Not surprisingly, polls show that Mr. Karzai is supported by most Afghans -- and so is the United States. In a poll sponsored by the Asia Foundation earlier this year, U.S. troops received a favorable rating from 67 percent of the population. A more recent survey by an Afghan human rights coalition showed that 75 percent of voters said they felt free to choose any can- didate in the elections, more than 90 percent said all women should vote and 85 percent believed the election will bring positive change to Afghanistan.
Sounds good. I believe our election will bring positive change to the United States, too. If Karzai was running against Dubya, he'd have my votes.