Commentary Magazine


You Don’t Say

This throwaway line from a New York Times story on Hamid Karzai caught my eye:

In his seven years in office, Mr. Karzai has successfully presided over the transition of the Afghan state from the devastated, pre-modern institution it was under the Taliban to the deeply troubled but largely democratic one it is today.

From “pre-modern” to “largely democratic.” Imagine the howls of derision, the cartoons, and the late-night monologues had George W. Bush described Afghanistan’s progress in those terms.

Imagine how the New York Times itself would have chastised the president for his insensitivity to traditional Afghan culture and for his delusions about the American led effort.