Afghans deserve a runoff

Implicit in my support of the mission in Afghanistan–in addition to having more troops and a workable strategy–is that they have a president who doesn’t steal elections. Given the amount of fraud already discovered, Hamid Karzai does not deserve outright victory:

Afghans loyal to President Hamid Karzai set up hundreds of fictitious polling sites where no one voted but where hundreds of thousands of ballots were still recorded toward the president’s re-election, according to senior Western and Afghan officials here.

Vote fraud in the hundreds of thousands, perhaps up to one million, and the vast majority was committed by Karzai supporters:

The commission’s decision is significant: The western officials estimated that the number of fraudulent votes could top 1 million, meaning that if they were thrown out, Karzai would almost certainly receive fewer than 50 percent of the vote, forcing him into a runoff with his main challenger, former Karzai minister Abdullah Abdullah.

Much is riding on the Election Complaints Commission, which is “dominated by Westerners appointed by the United Nations.” In a follow-up, they ordered a recount of tainted ballots. Given the breadth of this corruption, the Afghan people deserve a runoff, and let the chips fall where they may.