The Plank

Hamid Karzai As Michael Corleone


One of the better chunks of Elizabeth Rubin's excellent New York Times Magazine profile of Hamid Karzai reports on Karzai's brothers, a number of whom are suspected of criminality. This has become a huge political problem for Karzai as he faces re-election.

However, this comment from a U.N. official is more amusing than the official seems to realize. 

As many Afghans have pointed out, U.S. history is full of robber barons and of families who made their fortunes during Prohibition, and in the words of Ashraf Ghani “turned very decent as families.”

“Karzai should see this as ‘Godfather II,’ ” a U.N. official says. “You got to get out of the business and go legit.”

Hmmm, I can think of another lesson that Godfather II teaches us about how to handle brothers who misbehave. 

--Isaac Chotiner

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