Sunday, October 11, 2009

U.N. Secretary General Owes Peter Galbraith an Apology

On September 30th, Peter Galbraith, the highest ranking American, and deputy to U.N. ambassador, Kai Eide, was fired for disclosing Eide's efforts to understate voter fraud in the recent Afghan election. It was not the Norwegian diplomat, Eide, but U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who dismissed Galbraith.

Now, nearly two weeks later, Eide acknowledges "widespread fraud" in the election, and pervasive stuffing of ballot boxes which led to Karzai's disputed victory. Karzai discounts any instability in the election, and instead blames western forces in his country for attempting to invalidate it.

Eide claims that, as his dinner guest, Galbraith was privy to conversations that were intended to be confidential in nature, and that his divulging what amounts to criminal activity was a breach of good taste. Using the same logic, were Eide to confess to murder, at the dinner table, would Galbraith would be expected not to reveal that, too?

An even larger question, of course, is what does complicity on the part of the United Nationas, and a top U.N. official to conceal a stolen election say about the integrity of the U.N.? Has the U.N. now become a partner in the bolstering of puppet regimes?

Since his sudden termination, Peter Galbraith has refused to back down. He has not gone quietly into that night, but has chosen to "rage, rage against the dying of the light." Four U.N. staffers who reported directly to Galbraith have resigned over his treatment.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon owes Mr. Galbraith an apology as does the U.N. ambassador in Afghanistan, and Mr. Galbraith's immediate superior. It is never okay to yell fire in a crowded theatre unless there is a fire, and not to do so then becomes, effectively, arson. And, ultimately, it must never acceptable to fire a man for telling the truth.

Should he want his job back, Mr. Galbraith must be reinstated at once.